Just when some thought it was impossible to please me...along comes this book. This deserves 5 stars without any doubt. It baffles me why the world hypes barely mediocre books like 'The Kite Runner' or 'Lovely Bones' when gems like this one go almost unnoticed. There is not a single thing that is wrong with this book. In fact, it is a textbook example of how one should write a novel. Reviving the true art of storytelling, it manages to be gripping, enthralling, and captivating. The novel reveals itself slowly as if we were peeling an onion, uncovering one thin layer after another. It is amazing how real all the characters are. They are never black or white, but are perfectly three-dimensional with all the gradations of grey. Each has their share of good and bad in them. They all make mistakes and hurt each other deeply but I couldn't bring myself to wholeheartedly hate any of them because in the end they were oh so very human. It might be a depressing potrait of the institution of family but there is no exaggeration in it. There is no excess drama that 'happens in books and soap operas only'. It is a wonderful piece of prose. It is lush without being overwritten, rich but still delicate and light. Call me old-school but I still believe writers should truly master the language, have a vast vocabulary, use synonyms, create metaphors that would strike you with their originality and appropriacy, and just take you on a journey. And Preeta Samarasan does just that which is why I am going to be a fan forever and ever.
Here is the alternative cover for the paperback. While I think the cover above suits the book better, this one here is a beautiful stand alone cover.