Tuesday, January 10, 2012
If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar
Set in Ohio it tells the story of Tehmina Setha who has recently been widowed and has come to stay with her son Sorab and his wife Susan while she decides where her future lies...Bombay or America. As Tehima forges her journey we are introduced to life in Bombay going back to her rather sheltered upbringing and meeting the people and places that have formed her into the person she has become which at the end of this book is quite a different person to the one we started with although her intristic characteristics never leave her.
This book is written with such a fine, expressive hand that you can`t help but be drawn in, the characters weather multi-layered or fairly simplistic are in themselves a portrait of modern life, laced with old fashioned values or though in one case not so modern values, Grace you know who you are! We see how easy it is to become simply consumed with fitting in and in keeping up appearances. The book takes a good hard look at issues of race, poverty, death and grief, abuse, the power of modern media and the inner strength that resides in people and causes them to do the right thing by others. The relationship between parent and child is explored and the impact that leaving your home country to live elsewhere has on everyone in your life is beautifully handled as is interracial marriage.
The ability of this writer to handle each character with dignity no matter their circumstances deeply impressed me, at all times the writer was fair but always honest, motivation is a powerful tool wherever you may be. Along with humour, the book abounds with love and grace, it points us clearly toward recognition that what we leave behind us does matter, that no matter how simple our actions they can impact on others.
This book is easy to read and very easy to become absorbed in, it never becomes preachy and it is never boring, I wanted to see how it ended but I didn`t want to finish it.
You will find this book in any good Indie Bookshop,or they will be able to order it for you, it comes in a lovely soft cover and Thrity has a back catalogue well worth looking at.
This is the first book I have read for The 2012 South Asian Book Challenge.