Narrative Style – Third person, non-chronological
Synopsis: In an old, isolated house a retired judge lives his life in solitude despite those around him, his granddaughter, Sai is in love with her Gurkha tutor and their cook can think only of his son in New York. The son is desperately moving from one dead end kitchen job to another. Around them all hell breaks loose and they are all forced to reconsider their emotions.
Time on Shelf: I rescued this book about two years ago from my father in law when he was having a rare sort out of books for the charity shop. He hadn’t read it but decided he never would (this seems like sacrilege to me but he does have a lot of books).
I’m still not really sure how I feel about this book. It did make me think. And it opened my eyes to some of the issues that have plagued India in recent years and I realised that I had no idea of the history and the politics and it may be something that I read more about in the future. So for that it was certainly good.
The prose was beautiful; poetic and haunting. It even made the desolation seem magnificent. It was easy to see how this had won the Booker Prize. However, sometimes it seemed like the frosting over not very much and left me feeling a bit empty.
I think my main problem was identifying with some of the characters. The judge was a very difficult character to empathise with and I didn’t really enjoy all the time given to his back story. More interesting was Sai’s relationship with her Ghurka tutor, Gyan, which falls apart when the Ghurka’s start to demand independence. Also, some of the minor characters were more interesting (in my mind) than the Judge and I would have liked to hear more about some of them.
Ultimately, I can see why this book won The Booker Prize and I can appreciate its beauty but in the end, it wasn’t really to my taste.