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Book Review: Home

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Book Review, Home by Manju Kapur,

I have not done a book review since 2010. I feel like bringing them back to the blog. Feel free to leave me book suggestions in the comments below. 

I recently finished reading this captivating novel - Home - by Manju Kapur. And since I do not keep the verdict for the end, here goes: I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I have only read one of her previous novels Difficult Daughters, which I enjoyed reading too, and now I want to go back and read her other works. 

Home, is a story which takes us through a fascinating journey of three generations of a family. Banwari Lal migrates to India after India-Pakistan partition. He attempts to set up his family sari and cloth-house business in Karol Bagh, Delhi by selling his wife's jewelry. While it takes him time to establish the shop, his sister, Sunita, is of a marriageable age. Against his better judgement he marries her to a man with no steady income and sketchy character. As fate would have it, Sunita is abused and possibly murdered by her husband - leaving behind a son, Vicky. Banwari Lal decides to bring him to Delhi and take care of his education and well being, to make up for his sister's death. Vicky becomes a source of all disputes here on.

Banwari Lal has two sons. His elder son, Yashpal falls in love with Sona and informs his parents that he would only marry her or chose lifelong celibacy. The younger son, Pyare Lal, however resorts to traditional-arranged-marriage. Slowly their respective families expand, as does their expectations and dissatisfaction with their lifestyle.

As time passes by, the family adapts in its own reluctant ways to changing-modern-India. With the death of the Banwari Lal, the shop is now managed by the two brothers and their sons. The family house is transformed into flats. The story here on relies on Nisha, Yashpal and Sona's daughter, to show us the confusion and challenges faced by people in 1980s. Nisha represents the face of repression and sexual abuse faced by many women in those days.

Home is a piece of fictional Indian writing in English packed with stories of weddings and deaths, arranged marriages and love affairs, cooking and bickering in a joint family in India. Home keeps the reader guessing and entertained with its colorful characters and backdrop and an effective use of Delhi middle-class English. If you are looking of an easy read, pick this up.

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