Writer: Kiran Desai
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc (2006)
Pages: 324 p
Free book froom Bookmoch
I could simply say that I love this book, for many reasons. I love it because I got it for free from Bookmooch (thanks to Ferina, now I know about this amazing site!), and while this is a second hand book, the condition is just like new!
I also love it because when I first opened the pages, I thought this is gonna be another heavy-Indian-history book (like Midnight Children!), but apparently, it is beyond my expectation. The story is beautiful, the language, while also wonderful, is not hard to understand.
The story takes place in Kalimpong, a small vilage in India bordering with Nepal, in the 80’s era. The politics is hot in India with the issue of separations by Nepalis who live there. Once a peaceful village, Kalimpong has to face the hardest time in its history, with lots of demonstrations, violence, and people who distrust each other.
The characters are very complete: rich Bengali women who are once live happily and now become a delicious target of the separatists, a retired judge who is very bitter with his life, and loves his dog more than anything in the world, his granddaughter, Sai, who is an orphan and has to live isolated in the village, and unfortunately, falls in love with a Nepali. And the judge’s cook, who lives in the extreme poverty and only has one dream in his life: to see his son lives successfully in America, even though the son has to live there as an ilegal alien.
The story also revolves to New York, where the cook’ son, Biju, tries so hard to live as an ilegal alien, working in bad conditions and earning very little, for the sake of his father’s happiness.
How this book relates to life in Indonesia! With so many people wants to find something better somewhere else, but still craving for this chaotic country in the end! And how the government could become so ignorant. They want to have a big nation with a large amount of population, but they don’t care enough for everyone (remember Papua? Or Aceh?).
Kiran Desai is a very talented writer. And I hope I could read more of her works in the future =)
I read this book as part of Twenty Ten Challenge, for Charity/Used Book category (And yes, finally it’s down to three more books to go!!!)