1 Oct 2015



BACK COVER BLURB: Of all the family gatherings in her childhood, one stands out in Amina's memory. A visit to her grandmother's house in India escalates into an explosive encounter, pitching brother against brother, mother against son. In its aftermath, Amina's father, Thomas, rushes his family back to their new home in America. This decision sets off a chain of events that will haunt Thomas and his wife for ever.

Now, twenty years later, Thomas is acting strangely and Amina is summoned home by her worried mother, Kamala. But she soon finds herself at the centre of a mystery so tangled that to make any headway she has to excavate her family's painful past. And in doing so she must lay her own ghosts to rest.

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue: A Chosen Madness - Seattle, June 1998}: It was a fever, a hot rage for words.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 17}: "You will have to be very clever if you are never going to be pretty. Are you very clever?"

Amina stared at her grandmother, unsure of what to stay. She had never thought of herself as particularly clever. She had never thought of herself as particularly bad-looking either, though it was obvious enough now from the faint repulsion that rippled through the hairs on Ammachy's lip. 

SOURCE: A Readers Group read.

MY THOUGHTS: At two pages shy of 500, too long. Not that this would put me off in itself but I'm afraid combined with the minute print of this Bloomsbury 2014 edition and the superfluous hour-by-hour, day-by-day ramblings reading The Sleep Walker's Guide To Dancing proved to be something of a chore.

Unhappy, resentful, angry, dysfunctional, obnoxious - OK, so I didn't like any of the characters. Arguably not something that should have mattered and I dare say it might not have done had they been well written but I'm afraid I didn't find this to be the case. 

Jumping around between America and India, between the 1970's and 1990's, I found this, compounded by the fact that once read I found the words instantly forgettable, meant that for me novel didn't flow well.

Hoping if nothing else to come away with a better knowledge of Indian culture/customs even in this I came away disappointed, finding everything about the novel a bit of a cliche.

Perhaps merely too ambitious for a debut novel. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for a book that despite its attempts at humour I felt was essentially a depressing read. 

A bit nonplussed by the 'ghostly' and 'gourmet' elements. And Definitely a tad disgruntled that rather than letting the characters themselves tell us their stories and the emotions these elicited we were somehow informed by the author. 

Ultimately this just wasn't my cup of tea.


Lily B said...

my goodness thats a lot of pages , sorry that it didn't click with you. Props for sticking it out even if almost nothing worked.

Gina R said...

Like you, I'm not afraid of big books but always hopeful for a better outcome. A shame to...the title and cover certainly caught my attention. Thanks for the share!

Brandi Kosiner said...

Sorry to hear you didn't hit it off with the characters in this one

Anonymous said...

I won't bother with that one then! I am currently reading one of your earlier recommendations, Huntress Moon, which I am enjoying.

Tracy Terry said...

Frayedattheedges: Glad you are enjoying Huntress Moon. I think I'll have to begin charging authors for every satisfied customer who goes onto buy their book (only joking). I can't wait to hear what the other members of my reading group made of this one.

Kelly said...

Oh dear... anything described as a "chore" to read isn't good. Like you, I don't mind a lengthy book if well written, but this one doesn't sound like it is. I'll heed the warning.

And from what you jokingly said to Anne above... you'd already have made a fortune off of me as I've bought (and loved) MANY of your recommendations! On another note, I've passed on my Matthew Shardlake books to my younger daughter and more than half through the first, she's hooked. :)

New Release Books said...

Oh. So sorry it didn't click, but yay, you kept on and didn't quit.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I'm afraid the small print would be my undoing *sigh*

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks for your candid review. I hope the next book you read is your cup of tea.

Melliane said...

Oh sorry to see that it wasn't for you lady. I totally understand though, that's some important bothering points. I hope your next book is better.

Brian Joseph said...

The length and the unlikable characters would not bother me. Poor writing and cliches would prevent me from enjoying the book. Lack of imagination for me is the worst trait that an author can exhibit.