The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri knows how to spin a good yarn. And don’t you love it when you open a book and it holds you from the very first paragraph? Lahiri achieves this effortlessly in The Namesake, a novel about a family of immigrants living in the United States.

Lahiri has a tremendous gift – exploring sensitively the tensions between family loyalty and individuality. The Namesake is a human story that will resonate with everyone who has grown up in a family. But more than that, it is an exploration of cultural identity. The characters seem effortlessly sketched, are utterly believable, and wonderfully sympathetic.

This is very engaging and warm novel. Recommended.

 

On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks

I confess I am a sucker for a flawed hero and there’s a very appealing one here in On Green Dolphin Street.

Sebastian Faulks is one of my favourite authors. You know how some books stay with you for a long time? Well, for me, On Green Dolphin Street, and particularly Charles Linden – the flawed diplomat at the centre of this book – has done just that.

Set your flawed hero in New York in the 1950s and he becomes even more irresistable. On Green Dolphin Street is the story of the diplomat, his wife and her lover – told beautifully and sensitively.

I loved this sad tale. Yes, it’s a different book entirely from Birdsong, but for me Sebastian Faulks never disappoints.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

I must start by confessing that The Red Tent by Anita Diamant was a book club choice which I might never have come across left to my own devices

Essentially The Red Tent is about women and menstuation and it is set in Biblical times.

I believe that there is nothing new under the sun and so I can easily accept that women thousands of years ago were not so very different to how we are today. That’s one of the things that I like about this book. You can relate to the female characters.

Nothing new?

The club girls had quite divergent views on The Red Tent though. Some thought if you have read women’s studies during your formative years, you’ll find nothing new in this format. I accept that, but still thought it a good story, nicely told – an enjoyable read with enough pace and content to keep you interested.

I loved the image of the women collecting herbs and sewing them into the hemlines of their dresses as they traversed the desert.  I can even say I was moved to tears – particularly at the ending.

I read a lot of books so one of the ways I rate them is whether they stay with me months after I’ve read them. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant does. I couldn’t necessarily recount the tale or describe the characters but some of the images have lingered in my head. For that reason, I’m happy to recommend it.