Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book Review: Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera

Finished reading "Marriage Material" by Sathnam Sanghera. It is a tale of family, love, inter caste marriage and relationship with neighbours.

Taking inspiration from Arnold Bennett’s classic novel The Old Wives’ Tale, Marriage Material tells the story of three generations of a family through the prism of a Wolverhampton corner shop – itself a microcosm of the South Asian experience in the country: a symbol of independence and integration, but also of darker realities.

The story is about Arjan Banga, who is, somehow, forced to run the Bains Store at Victoria road in Wolverhampton, after the unexpected death of his father, and unfold the history of his aunt Surinder who had eloped many years back. In these jumble and confusion, he finds his relationship with his fiance Freya in a fix.

The book is written in two parallel narratives. One in first person that tells the story of the protagonist Arjan Banga through his point of view and the other is in third person, a story dwelling in the past, describing his family history.

Due to this eccentric point of views, I found the story a bit confusing.

The book is divided in several chapters telling two different and parallel stories. Some portions of the book is undoubtedly engrossing but some chapters are not that interesting. There are too many characters and names that interrupts the flow and makes the narration again confusing.

I really liked the detailing and touch of humour. The language is neat. The 'Surinder' portion, when the story dwells in the past, is interesting. Overall, for me it was an average read that left me with mixed feelings.

I got this copy from the publisher Random House India (Random Reads, official blog of the publisher) for an honest review.

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