In accordance to the FTC guidelines, I must state that I make no monetary gains from my reviews or endorsements here on Confessions of a Literary Persuasion. All books I review are either borrowed, purchased by me, given as a gift, won, or received in exchange for my honest review of the book in question.

25 November, 2005

Book Review: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

In the Space between us, Thrity Umrigar introduces us to Bhima and Sera Dubash. These are two women from vastly differing lifestyles whose lives become intertwined.

Bhima is a poor Hindu woman who is struggling to support herself and her granddaughter Maya. Maya has recently become pregnant while unwed, and will not admit to whom the father is. Because of this she is forced to drop out of collage which was the hope of her grandmother and her getting out of the slums.

Sera Dubash is an upper middle class Parsi widow. Her life seems perfect. She lives in a flat owned by her husband’s family; she has a beautiful and intelligent daughter. She can afford to hire Bhima as her house servant, to do cleaning around the house and to get things from the market for her. However, she is extremely unhappy. a state of being which has plagued her since her marriage to her late husband Feroz.

Despite their differences, Sera and Bhima develop a friendship of sorts over the twenty years that Bhima has been working for the Dubash household. Bhima brings her mistress‘ life a little bit of pleasure as she deals with her husbands uncontrollable rages. She becomes a surrogate mother to Sera’s daughter Dinaz, and brings cheerfulness into the household. Sera on the other hand finds in Bhima some one she can trust to soothe the bruises and hurt feelings, she treats Bhima’s granddaughter with kindness when she was brought to live with her grandmother in Bombay after being orphaned in Delhi. Over the years, Sera helps out Bhima when she can, she pays for Maya’s college tuition when it turns out how bright of a child she is.

Through the years, Bhima and Sera share heartbreaks, and joy, and love of a sort. Their world gets turned upside down when it is discovered that Maya has become pregnant.

Thrity Umrigar brings her readers to witness contemporary Bombay life with a fantastically crafted story. She uses her masterful writing style to bring us the readers into a world where life is a struggle. I was transported to a world that was very unfamiliar to me, and while the story is a sad one it ended leaving me with a haunting sense of longing to know more about the future of these two women. I was blown away by the depth of the characters and the descriptiveness of her phrasing. I haven’t read a book set in India that has grabbed hold of me and transported me across the globe like this one did, since I read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry a few years back.

ISBN10: 0060791551
ISBN13: 9780060791551
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 2006
Binding: Hardcover

24 October, 2005

Book Review: The Road to Paradise by Max Allen Collins

In his graphic novel Road to Perdition author Max Allen Collins introduces us to the character Michael O'Sullivan. The son of a mobster who's life changes when the mob turns on his family. In it's written sequel, Road to Purgatory we meet Michael again, now known as Michael Satariano. who is a young man, recently returned from WWII, and taking his fledgling steps into becoming a part of the Chicago mob. Road to Paradise is the third and final book in the Road to series that Max Collins has written. He once again masterfully brings us back into the life of Michael Satariano, this time not with images drawn, but images shared through descriptive writing.

In Road to Paradise, we are introduced once again to Michael, now middle aged, with his killing days far behind him. Michael runs a casino for the mob, and has a family he is raising in a small town near the California Nevada border. He is comfortable in his life, until exiled godfather Sam Giancana asks Michael to help him regain power in Chicago by committing a hit on one of the members of the Chicago mob. Michael refuses the job. The hit is done anyways, and Michael finds himself running from the mob with his family after being framed for the murder.

Max Collins crafts a suspenseful story following the Satariano family as they are moved around the country in the newly formed Federal Witness Protection Program. The book has on the edge of your seat action and excitement as we follow Michael as he tries to keep his family safe, prove that he was framed, and battle the "family" that has been such a huge impact on his life and lifestyle since he was a small boy in the 1930's. If you have not read either of the books prior to this one, you won't find yourself lost in the story. Collins gives the reader access to occurrences and past history from the other chapters in Michael O'Sullivan's life without bogging down the story of the present happenings to Michael.

I have been waiting for this conclusion to Max Collin's "Road" series as I fell in love with the story with the graphic novel Road to Perdition, every book since has made the story more and more real feeling. I really enjoyed this conclusion. It was a satisfy closing chapter in the life of Michael O'Sullivan (Satariano).

ISBN10: 0060540281
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: November 2005