Archive for December, 2011

Excess Baggage

Time for a book review!!!

Now I’m not sure about all of you, but one of my favourite moments while travelling is that 30 minutes or so after you pass security when you are free to browse the stores near your gate. More specifically, the store with the table of books out front calling my name! It’s a really a horrible habit of mine to be honest. Even when I already have a book or two in my carry-on luggage, I can’t seem to help myself! Anyways the point is, the following book  was my latest unnecessary purchase.

Now being ethnic myself, I am a huge fan of ethnic literary fiction. Shobhhan Bantwal’s novel, “The Full Moon Bride” is a very common piece that addresses the struggle of dual identity and finding a balance between cultures. The novel’s heroine, Soorya Giri, is a 30 year old, single, Indian-American woman that lives a cushy, and sheltered life with her parents in a wealthy suburban neighbour-hood of New Jersey.  Being the daughter of a respected plastic surgeon, Soorya’s life is filled with the best schools and opportunities that led to her job as a successful environmental lawyer at a top law firm in Manhattan. She had it all, except of course the primary requirement of any respectable South Asian woman past the age of 25; a husband. Soorya’s life suddenly becomes interesting when she becomes the pursuit of not just one, but two very different men. In her journey of romance, Soorya not only discovers love, but also the value of knowing who you are and understanding what that means.

I know this story sounds predictable, but it’s actually got some refreshing moments in here. Now I will admit that I did not love this book, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I guess my main issue was the author’s delivery of a cultural experience. I do understand that the author is writing for a North American audience, and is essentially trying to teach someone about a culture that is foreign to them. However, in doing so, Bantwal’s voice no longer sounds authentic. It becomes too textbook, to the point that anyone who simply knows a few facts about a culture could create Soorya’s character. As a reader, I like when an ethnic author doesn’t spell out everything for me in such an elementary manner, but rather the natural flow of their culture and their experience is illuminated in their writing and I am able to capture all the important details simply through their delivery, and not necessarily through their explanations.

Nevertheless, I did relate to Soorya’s character from a female prespective, and you can’t go wrong with a few cheesy feel good moments. All in all, it was a nice mellow read.

Return from Hiatus…….yet again!!

I must apologize, I fell off the face of the earth again! What can I say, life really did get in the way. A lot has changed since my last post! Firstly, (and most importantly) I am no longer a grad student! I graduated this past summer and did the walk in my velvet cap :) A few months later I got married to a wonderful man and dived head first into reality and have come to a scary realization: I am no longer a grad student  swimming indulgently through the pages of my beautiful books searching for meaning and symbolism, and wrapping myself into the warmth of literature. I am now a wife, a partner, and at times a culinary genius (or so I like to think):P.

Marriage truly is a wonderful journey that does change your life in a way you never expected, and you find it easy to lose yourself in the land of “we” and “us”.  And its important to catch yourself and not lose yourself completely. So here I am, rediscovering me and the first love of my life: the written word.

Stay tuned readers, more book reviews and literary ramblings are brewing!