The Toss of A Lemon by Padma Viswanathan (Harcourt) 640 pagesRead about another title among January Magazine's selections.
Padma Viswasathan’s debut novel pads in on little cat feet and rips you along. You don’t realize you’re on an epic journey in the midst of a generational saga until you’re well along and it’s far, far too late to turn back. Not that you’d want to. Not that you even could. Inspired by the author’s own family history, we join Sivakami in a village in India in 1892, the year of her marriage to the healer, Hanumarathnam. She is ten. What astonishes here is Viswasathan’s virtuosity. In The Toss of A Lemon, we join India at a time of great social and political upheaval. Nevertheless, we experience this only at a distance. The way, in fact, Sivakami might experience it. Our concerns are more immediate, more domestic, though never more mundane. The marriage of a daughter, a granddaughter. The obedience of a son-in-law. The disturbingly progressive thoughts of a son. These concern Sivakami exclusively and, with her as our proxy, they are all that concern us, as well. -- Linda L. Richards
Related: crime fiction maven J. Kingston Pierce, editor of The Rap Sheet and contributor to January Magazine, named his top 10 crime novels of 2008.