Sunday 21 April 2013

As Sweet As Honey

Finished April 15
As Sweet As Honey by Indira Ganesan

This novel is written in 3 sections. The first and third sections are narrated by Mina, and the second by Meterling. In the first section Marriage, Mina is telling the story of events when she was a girl from the vantage point of the future. Her home is the island of Pi in the South Indian Ocean. Her older cousin Meterling has recently got married, but the groom dropped dead during the wedding dance, a shocking and sad circumstance. As Meterling grieves and adjusts to her new situation, we see the reaction of her husband Archer's family, her own family, and the larger community. As the months pass, other marriages take place in the family and we see the different nature of these unions and the reactions to them as well. Mina is particularly close to the two cousins closest to her in age, Rasi and Sanjay. They all live with their grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins in a multigenerational home. Mina's parents are both in the United States, studying and working towards a better life.
The second section Time Passes covers Meterling's move to London with her new husband and child, and her gradual adjustment to life there. We see how her past haunts her, quite literally, and what she does to learn about her new environment and move forward. We see her fears and worries, her emotions and her triumphs.
The third section Returning (Nine Years Later) is back in Pi. Mina has travelled home as have Rasi and Sanjay from their current homes in the United States. Mina and Rasi are both at university and Sanjay is about to begin. This is the first time their parents have sent them home without coming themselves. Also, for the first time a few years Meterling and her family are home visiting. Meterling's son Oscar is beginning to show independence. Mina observes her family again as more marriages are considered, and the younger generation begins to consider its future.
This is a very interesting novel, showing the closeness of the family despite distances intervening, the changes that life in foreign countries brings to their outlooks and expectations, and the gradual change that occurs even in the remote land they grew up in.

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