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Posted June 12, 2011
(Almost) No Good Deed Unpunished
It's handy that this book has a happy ending because most of the rest of it is permeated with sadness, as the title indicates. The writing is graceful and the scenery absolutely luscious. (If you have a NOOK Color, you'll want to take advantage of the links to check out the unfamiliar flora and fauna.) Themes of contrast abound: male/female, city/country, kindness/cruelty, loneliness/socialization -- all very effectively presented through people and events rather than through judgmental or didactic text. I have seldom read a book that persuaded me so powerfully of my own ignorance of a huge segment of world culture. Yet on another level it's a reminder that the longing for love and home are universal, as (alas) are hatred, prejudice and greed.
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Posted April 5, 2011
This book is filled with longing and heartache. From the beginning the wife's hatred for her new home just hurt to read. Moving from a large busy city to a small rural community is hard on her and yet her husband takes no notice. The children and the marriages of those children were happy occasions that a few years later would suddenly fill with loss. The mother loses her mind in the process of all this misery. Will any of the people in this house be happy?
The description of the homes, ruins, gardens and almost everything else in this book, were absolutely beautiful. The hurt and sorrow in their lives broke my heart. The story swept from one member of the family to the next and each was tainted in some gloom. The writing flowed well from each character to the next, with even a surprise here and there. I usually never chose to read things that are depressing or filled with misery, now I remember why. This is a book that will haunt me for awhile.
The story was beautifully written, but so much sorrow was almost too much for me. Even the end was only bittersweet. My favorite quote from the book is this.
"I know all about houses and homes, I who never had one. I am Mukunda. This is my story." This is on page 178. The story took place in three different phases and this was the last phase. Whenever I thought that the character would find what there were looking for they didn't. So much misery mixed with everyday life. How much can one family take?
You will like this book if you enjoy vivid landscapes, beautiful phrasing, history mixed in and heartbreak, but if you don't want to be heartbroken skip this one.
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Posted June 23, 2011
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