Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nectar in a Sieve

by Kamala Markandava (read August 2006) Rating 3.5/5
My mother and my nephew both recommended this novel about a peasant woman from a small village in India and her life of constant struggles. Even though it's a moving story and Rukmani's like was substantial, I didn't feel like the telling of her story was substantial. One instance is the relationship between Rukmani and the village doctor who came and went for whatever reasons. There was something about that relationship that Rukmani kept secret from her husband, and the author keeps it a secret from the reader. Did Rukman have forbidden feelings of attraction to him or was he the father of her sons? Who knows?

The characters were not fully fleshed out either. The people we were suppose to care about lacked substance. With the exception of Rukmani's husband, the rest of her family were barely names on a page. The whole book centers on Rukmani's struggles with her hard life, but from the time she is 12-yrs-old until she is an old woman, we know little of the characters in that life.

Maybe I was expecting more and because of that missed the good that was there. This is a book that could have been excellent, but it left me lacking and unsatisfied.


Lotus Reads said...

Booklogged, I read this book sometime last year and I remember feeling the same way you do - that the characters lacked substance. Also, the kind of poverty described in the book made for a depressing read. Disturbing as it was,however,the story does highlight the indomitable spirit of human beings.

Booklogged said...

Needless to say, Lotus, I thought about you a lot while I was reading because the setting was India and your recent visit. In that way reading this book was a good thing. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Lotus Reads said...

Awww, thanks booklogged! Yes, we had a wonderful,wonderful time. As of now, our plan is to return to India in about three years, but we have grown so attached to Canada and this side of the world, we may end up postponing our return!

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

This sounds like a delicious read, Booklogged. I love novels by South Asian writers.

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Hello Booklogged,
I must add on to my comment where I said it sounded like a delicious read as opposed to your dissatisfaction over the story.
I often find that one man's meat is many times another man's poison.
For instance, I loved The Time Traveller's Wife.
When I said 'delicious read' that may have sounded odd, it accounts simply that I love Asian literature when it is recognised and published globally and am often forgiving of South Asian writers; simply appreciative that they have managed to get their stories out the most challenging way possible these days, internationally.
As a writer, I know this is how near impossible this can be.
Just in case, my earlier comment appeared odd, these are the reasons why I said a 'delicious read.'

Kirsten said...

I read this in high school for a 9th grade Global Studies class and in the 15 or 16 years since then I have never heard this book mentioned again. It was a nice blast from the past reading your review. I had forgotten all about it until now.