Thursday, June 30, 2011

What is Kamala Nair reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Kamala Nair, author of The Girl in the Garden, her debut novel.

Her entry begins:
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

I first fell in love with Banana Yoshimoto’s writing when I read Kitchen and Asleep in college. Her stories had a hypnotic effect on me. I was gripped by overwhelming hunger when I read Kitchen, and nothing I consumed could compare to the foods I was reading about on the page. The day I read Asleep, I found myself neglecting meals and schoolwork, drifting in a dream-like state between reading and sleeping. It was a wonderful surprise when I walked into a bookstore the other day and saw a new work by Yoshimoto called The Lake. I had only planned on stopping in for a quick browse, but I ended up sitting in the cafĂ© for an hour with a cup of tea, reading. I bought the book and continued reading at home. The Lake is a dark tale about the mysterious bond between two emotionally...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Girl in the Garden:
“[An] accomplished debut . . . a satisfying coming-of-age tale with smooth prose and a lustrous backdrop.”
Publishers Weekly

“Elegantly turned, conveying a sense of magic…charming individual moments are sprinkled throughout… Nair gently packs the story with plenty of commentary about Indian domestic life, mythology and, most of all, its sexist culture.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A daring fairy tale of a story, Nair’s first novel audaciously tackles issues ranging from puberty to friendship to abuse, providing plenty of adventure as well.”

“Nair effortlessly brings her childhood memories to life, peppering her novel with spellbinding Indian fables… the perfect embellishments to an already flavorful backdrop. As much as Rakhee’s coming-of-age journey owns this novel, without her grandmother, her harsh and prideful aunt Sadhana, her troubled mother, Chitra, and her sidekick cousin Krishna, this novel would lack its fresh, fascinating, and harrowing perspective on women’s ever-changing cultural and social roles. These women’s mistakes, regrets, fears, and sacrifices make them utterly relatable.”
Learn more about the book and author at Kamala Nair's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Girl in the Garden.

Writers Read: Kamala Nair.

--Marshal Zeringue