It was an enjoyable read I love such languid, easy paced , middle class Indian existence of ordinary people their hopes, disappointments , desires, achievements , frienships, insecurities etc Te story revolves around Mohan small time letter writer an obscure occupation with a secret desire to be a writer, his wife Lakshmi and his nephew Ashish who is forced to stay with them to complete his education Ashish has a secret to hide and Mohan fears that his wife is slowly but steadily drifting apart from him There is Madhavi , a bubbly , intelligent , neighbour who befriends Ashish , and Sunder and Narayan two greyish characters I relished Mumbai , it s streets, it s crowd and furore overall enjoyed peeping into Ashish and co.s lives. Saraswati Park is the story of Mahesh A letter writer by profession, his life is bound by a set routine which includes waking up early, making tea for him wife, getting ready, taking the local for V.T etc He derives small pleasure by visiting the street vendors who sell 2nd hand books at Fountain area He is passionate about collecting 2nd hand books, a habit which irritates his wife Lakshmi He is shocked out his reverie when the street vendors are thrown out by the municipality but before he could mull over the loss there are much bigger changes waiting to happen in his life.Mohan Lakshmi are joined by his nephew With his parents moving out to another city, Ashish moves in with his uncle aunt to finish off his final year graduation He comes with a package Confused about his sexuality Ashish gets into a relationship with his class mate only to be dumped later He gets into another relationship but doesn t know what the future holds for him.Amidst all the happenings Lakshmi loses her brother before she could get over the mourning she gets the news of the illness of her other brother She departs in a hurry only to not to return for months.Will Mohan find his true calling Will Ashish find a way in his life What happened between Mohan Lakshmi that made her stay away for a long time Will Lakshmi ever return Read the book to know.My VerdictNow, this is a book which I will call my kind of book a book which delves into relationships, people, emotions, day to day life, treats the city as a character and comes out to be something which is very relatable.Written in subtle tone, the book moves with a gentle pace but never loses the grip on the reader For me a good fiction is something with which one can relate to and I could relate to the book because the places were familiar and so was Mohan s passion for books The portions where the author describes the daily routine of Lakshmi, a housewife had something charming to it, charming because it made me yearn for a life like her I wish I could quit, stay at home just tend to the house I wish Then there is Ashish who loses himself into a relationship only to come out as a survivor and a better person The author handles the emotions very well, there is nothing over the top about the whole affair, and things are as they are in normal life without the useless loud drama I fell in love with the portions where Ashish interacts with his uncle The way he guides him into finding his true calling in life was beautiful.I could go on on about what works for the book but I would rather recommend it to you Surely worth a read for people who love to read books which are rich in emotions.My rating 4 5The book has already brought two literary awards for the debutant author Anjali Joseph She has won The Betty Trask Award The Desmond Elliot Prize and is nominated for the Vodafone Crossword Book Awards in the Best English Fiction Category.The Vodafone Crossword Book Award is one of the most prestigious and a popular literary prize in India that not only recognizes and rewards the best of Indian writing but also actively promotes the authors and their books.The awards are being held on 2nd September at NCPA, click here to read the invitee and here to know about the awards. A fine novel with well written characters I loved the Mumbai the writer has created The middle class middle aged couple Mohan and Lakshmi are so real that you feel you have known them all your life and start worrying about their problems like you would for your relatives Especially endearing is Mohan s love for books and his introspective nature The boy Ashish, sensitive and intelligent wins you over with his vulnerabilities Even the smaller characters like Satish, Narayan, Mayank, Madhavi, Khan would stay with you.This is the first book I read by this author and I am well impressed.Highly recommend. It took me a few tries to get into this book, and only by plowing through the first six chapters or so did I finally start to find myself interested in the characters enough that reading became less of a chore It was around that mark, too, that I finally understood that this was really just meant to unfold like a parlor drama on public television it s just a little story of a few unremarkable middle class lives in modern Mumbai Its emotional impact is probably greater the closer one knows that city and the subtleties of life there, as it s full of endless mentions of the trains going between the named suburbs and neighborhoods, and the sights, sounds, smells, and weather that one experiences there For someone like me not at all familiar with it, I just went along taking it as a semi authoritative fictionalized documentary of life there.The author does have a great grasp of language and is good at using it to bring alive the striking internal dialogues of the characters, as well as painting subtle and effusive pictures of those aforementioned sights It s these parts of the book that stand out, with the character interactions and languid story, such as it is, being the downsides The end result for me, then, was this was a mixed bag, but one that shows a lot of promise for the author. Ever wondered the role of Middle class in fiction Who wants to read about an ordinary person with ordinary life Everyone wants to read about the rich who have scandales or insufficiences in so seemingly perfect life or the poor who have challenges and struggles in their daily life Quote The Building was like the people living in it middle class to its core Improvement or Failure incapable of either extremity..To read , visit the link here Saraswati Park is a warm, beautiful and simple book that is as much a post card of Bombay life as it is of the new middle class The book is set with normal people dealing with ennui of life, burden of buried aspirations and want of love Mohan and Lakshmi are the middle aged couple who have completed their duty to their children and endure the burden of routine Mohan s world of second hand books, wish to write, and the dying occupation of letter writing is filled with silences and words unsaid Lakshmi, carrying her unsaid frustrations of a housewife, is slowly slipping away Enter Ashish, Mohan s nephew Ashish is a confused 19 year old battling his socially unaccepted urges and trying to find love, friendship and companionship and make something out of his life The other characters like Satish, Narayanan, Madhavi have a distinct voice.The 3 main characters are portrayed beautifully and the 1 year happenings connect with the reader The simplicity of the prose is a plus but manages to paint a beautiful picture The book also works for the lovers of Bombay not Mumbai There are many aspects which the reader is able to connect with the characters This book is a fine accomplishment Enjoyed the reading experience. A gentle read, never too taxing A story about a disruption within a family, but you never really feel like the events that cause the disruption are worthy of a novel I got to the end of the book and thought to myself Nothing really happened I don t think I d be rushing to pass it around to my friends, but it was a nice way to pass some time. A Tremendous First Novel From An Exciting Young Author Recently Chosen As One Of The Telegraph S Under Best UK WritersFamous For Its Electric Chaos, The City Of Bombay Also Accommodates Pockets Of Calm In One Such Space Works Mohan, A Contemplative Man Who Has Spent His Life Observing People From His Seat As A Letter Writer Outside The Main Post Office But Mohan S Lack Of Engagement With The World Has Caused A Thawing Of His Marriage At This Delicate Moment Mohan And His Wife, Lakshmi Are Joined At Their Home In Saraswati Park By Their Nephew, Ashish, A Sexually Uncertain Year Old Who Has To Repeat His Final Year In CollegeAs The Novel Unfolds, The Lives Of Each Of The Three Characters Are Thrown Into Relief By The Comical Frustrations Of Family Life Annoying Relatives, Unspoken Yearnings And Unheard Grievances When Lakshmi Loses Her Only Brother, She Leaves Bombay For A Relative S Home To Mourn Not Only The Death Of A Sibling But Also The Vital Force Of Her Marriage Ashish, Meanwhile, Embarks On An Affair With A Much Richer Boy In His College And, Not Long Afterwards, Succumbs To The Overtures Of His English TutorAs Mohan Scribbles Away In The Margins Of The Sort Of Books He Secretly Hopes To Write One Day, He Worries About Whether His Wife Will Return, What Will Become Of Ashish, And If He Himself Will Ever Find His Own Voice To Write From The Margins About The Centre Of Which He Will Never Be A Part This is a slow moving story around an almost 60 year old letter writer in Bombay, his bored housebound wife and their nephew who arrives to continue his studies There s not much of a plot but the book does provide a tiny insight into life for some in modern India The writing is excellent although I found the male characters to be a little dull and hogged the pages. I ve read this over the weekend It was fast and simple I didn t expect the male on male romance, which the synopsis does a great job of concealing The premise takes place during the monsoon season in India, and it follows a middle class Indian boy who is flunking college He is sent to live with his uncle and aunt to get put on the right track While there, he falls into an unrequited romance with his male tutor This was a quiet read Not much goes on The protagonist, Ashish, spends most of his time mulling over past affairs with his ex I found his character passive and aloof The author s writing was meh But it was pretty obvious that the author was writing from a personal experience The themes that reoccurs in this story are family, self identity, death, and love I wouldn t say this is a Must Read But if you are looking for a gay romance set in India I say read it 2.5 rating.
Anjali Joseph was born in Bombay in 1978 She read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, and has taught English at the Sorbonne More recently she has written for the Times of India in Bombay and been a Commissioning Editor for ELLE India She graduated from the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia with distinction in 2008 Saraswati Park is her first novel.
- 262 pages
- Saraswati Park
- Anjali Joseph
- 15 January 2019 Anjali Joseph