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Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review : ‘The Sour Faced Moon’ by Rohini Lall



Rohini Lall’s maiden venture, ‘The Sour Faced Moon’ is an odd one. The beginning of which, by the way I really enjoyed. I thought that the book had a good foundation and a weaving start, which it could have gone on with...

We begin with Zaamir Agha Khan, who has a certain optimism about how his life would end up. His hopes and visions are wonderfully illustrated in the first chapter. How he travels to India from Afghanistan, how he trusts his horse to bring him to his dreamland, are all details that are brilliantly written about.

But then, we jump forwards to green-eyed Imroz’s life. He runs a shop in India and has only the stories of his past and his forefathers, which he does not like. Then, of course we have other characters like Imroz’s almost blind muezzin father, Farooqh, the Andersons; Nicholas, Emma, Danielle, Bryan and Joshua and a whole other sundry group of characters.

I do not know how they all fit into the story, though they have individual stories of their own. The first three are Nicholas, Emma, Danielle and Bryan. Nicholas is the head of the family with the beautiful Emma who is now dead, and their daughter, Danielle. Danielle, who is in love with Imroz but leaves India for Australia for almost twelve years, and comes back to India with the green-eyed Bryan in tow. 

Bryan is a young boy, who takes to Imroz and all the Indian ways with abolutely no issues. There is also Joshua, but how he fits into the story remains mystery, with only hints for the reader.

Why? You ask… I cannot give you the answers because that was how the book ran. So many questions are raised but the answers are not provided.

The story moves on and one sees a lot of things happening. The past, the present, boatmen, brick kilns, children, and Rogan Gosht and even kites and cricket make an appearance, but one cannot find an ending to any of these stories. There were probably more than two main stories and every one of the stories has misery, regret and sorrow. Including in the title. The moon, which looked up on all these people could only have a sour face.

On the whole, I felt that the novel could have gone two ways. Either, it could have been in short story format. Or the stories of the Khans and the Andersons could have been running parallel to each other and had proper endings, allowing the story a wholeness, that it lacked.

The reason I am not putting it away, is because of the author. Her style of writing deserves marks. She grasps the emotions and manages to draw the reader to not put down the book, immediately. But, unfortunately the story does not end properly, too many unresolved issues, I guess…

Author: Rohini Lall
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing, an imprint of Frog Books
ISBN: 9789383562305
Price: India 195/-, Elsewhere: $8

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