Thursday, February 22, 2007

This book made me hungry.

I've been sitting here wondering if it's been too long since I've read this to give it a good post. What immediately leaps to mind when I think back to Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth is how entrenched food was in the story. The families were always making food or sitting down to eat. It was the atmosphere; it gave you the senses. You heard the sizzles, smelled the spices and wished you could eat along with the family. Perhaps I shouldn't be using second person. I heard the sizzles, smelled the spices and I wished I could eat along with the family. What it did, beyond simply setting the story, was ground it. Food is comfort; food is social; food can tell you who you are and where you come from.

Jeeta is the youngest of three daughters in present-day Mumbai, India. As she watches her relatives search for husbands for her sisters, she gets more and more disillusioned about her future marriage - and the traditions that her family holds dear.

Jeeta is a brave, intelligent, sweet girl and I loved spending time with her in this novel. She visibly comes into her own and takes risk when they are necessary. It is a love story in the traditional sense and it is a discovery of familial love as well. She's deciding what she wants out of life, and testing whether it is the same as what her parents want for her. I'll talk more about that concept when I finally review A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, but what a scary thing to look at years of tradition and consider it for what it is - both the benefit and the constrictions - then choose how you fit your past into your future.

Idea for the paperback: Include recipes. You can't go on and on like that about food and then not put recipes in the end! It shouldn't be allowed! By golly, if the silly Little House books have a recipe edition, so should you. I already know how to make biscuits. I'm much more shaky on samosas (mmmm....yum).

Are you hungry now?


Unknown said...

"silly" little house books?!?! And Pat says "shun the non-believer...shuuuunnnnn"

Jackie Parker said...

Let me rephrase: boring Little House books.

(I was wondering if anyone was going to call me on that)

Pat: Please don't take my kidney!

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh what are Little House books but younger "Hattie Big Sky" and you loved Hattie. You were just tramatized by the TV show.


Anonymous said...

I loved this book!! I felt the same way about the food, as well as the clothing, colors, and sounds that Jeeta describes. Great review!