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Archive for the tag “India”

‘Being Someone’ by Adrian Harvey

Being Someone

‘Being Someone’ is Adrian Harvey’s debut novel.  It was published by Urbane Publications in 2014.  I was sent a copy to review a while back.

James has gone through life, taking each and every day as it comes, whilst all the time waiting for that special something to turn up.  Amongst other things he loves travelling to India.  His ongoing journey seems to be lacking one vital element though, a fellow traveller.

Then he meets the lovely Lainey.  She is everything James wants and more and he is determined to win her heart.  Lainey gives James a reason to grow and he sees a bright future with her.  She promises him the happy ending he has been looking for.  But will things work out the way he imagines them to?

I really enjoyed reading ‘Being Someone’ and I felt I got a lot out of it.  I’m not sure if this is a book I would have bought had I seen it in a bookshop, but I’m so glad now that I gave it a go and I do truly recommend it.  The story itself starts off in Mysore and it took me a while to figure out what the relevance was, but all soon became clear.

‘Being Someone’ is a beautifully told story about life, love and loss.  I personally find it hard to believe that this is actually a debut novel, so advanced is the writing.  The descriptions of India were wonderful and so very vivid that at one point I felt as I was actually there with James.  I also like how the author has written about Jagganath who James met in India.  James was going through a hard time and Jagganath showed him hospitality, something that Indians are very well known for.

I don’t necessarily condone what James did, but I think it shows that things had changed and couldn’t be rescued.  Life is an ongoing journey that we are all travelling.  Good and bad, happy and sad, we all have to carry on.

I am looking forward to reading Adrian Harvey’s new novel which is out next year.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Being Someone’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/being-someone/

Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Being-Someone-Adrian-Harvey/dp/1909273090/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451575323&sr=1-1&keywords=being+someone

 

Guest Post by Sunny Singh

Book Cover

I would like to introduce you all to Sunny Singh whose latest novel, ‘Hotel Arcadia’ was recently published.  Sunny has written a very interesting guest post for my blog.

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I have always been fascinated by love stories, although not necessarily of the prince-and-princess kind. As a child, I found those boring, mostly because the princess rarely got to be anything more than pretty and passive. I remember complaining that all the princesses did was to sit about and wait. And I was convinced that I would not like any man who fell in love with such women.

At the same time, as a child growing up in India during the Cold War, I also had a lot of Russian books, especially beautiful illustrated editions of fairy tales. I preferred the love stories in those Russian fairy tales because the women were smart, wise, brave, and even able to “journey through three times nine lands to the thirtieth kingdom, wear out three pairs of iron shoes, break three iron staves, and gnaw away at three church-loaves of stone’ in their persistence (this line is from one of my absolute favourite stories called ‘The Feather of Finist the Falcon’).

The Russian love stories also made more sense to me as they are not only about romantic love but also about love for family, friends, even entire peoples and kingdoms. Even the fairy stories of romantic love were more complicated as they included aspects of ethics, courage, and complicated dilemmas. As an adult, I continue to seek out and read such love stories.

At the same time, I realised quite a long time ago that I never felt fully satisfied with the stories I read. There was always a sense of discontent with characters, or plotlines, or themes. So even as a child, I would write myself into the stories I loved, or entirely rewrite them in the back of my school notebooks, to be the way I wanted.

As an adult and writer, I continue to do the same. I write the stories I want to read, especially the love stories that will make me smile, weep, and smile again, even through tears. And this is why, for me, Hotel Arcadia is first and foremost a love story.

It is a story of two damaged, vulnerable, people who are brought together by circumstances beyond their control.  Sam and Abhi – my two main characters – connect with each other in ways that most of us can only dream of. They are, despite their differences, kindred spirits, or the two halves of that proverbial orange.  They complete each other on emotional, psychological, even moral levels, and which is why their intimacy is so intense and urgent.

For me, love is about bringing out the best within ourselves. In those Russian fairy tales I read as a child, great love involved wisdom and courage, as well as passion. In Hotel Arcadia, Sam can reach out to comfort Abhi with complete unconditional acceptance, and that is something he has never fully experienced or expected. At the same time, Abhi can break through all of Sam’s protective shields and remind her of her humanity, coax her into revealing how much she cares, even when it is at a huge cost to herself.  In different ways, their love for each other is necessary for Sam and Abhi to reach their best selves.

Regardless of how the book ends, I am convinced that the two of them would break through ‘three iron shoes, break three iron staves, and gnaw through bread of stone’ to reach, and rescue, each other. And to me, that is true love.  It is this kind of love that can save Sam and Abhi. And all of us.

 

About Sunny Singh 

White_Singh141_07

SUNNY SINGH was born in India and was educated in India, USA, and Spain.  She has worked as a journalist and management executive in Mexico, Chile, and South Africa, and is currently based in London.  Her debut novel,  Nani’s Book of Suicides , was described as a “first novel of rare scope and power.” The Spanish translation of the novel won the inaugural Mar de Letras prize in 2003. Her second book, a work of non-fiction titled  Single in the City: The Independent Woman’s Handbook  (2001), was a first-of-its-kind exploration of single women in contemporary India” while her second novel,  With Krishna’s Eyes  (2006), has been commended for its “profound insight” and described as “memorable”.  Her short stories have been published by prestigious international literary journals including The Drawbridge and World Literature Today.  Her creative nonfiction and academic writing has been published across the world in key journals and anthologies. She also writes for newspapers and magazines, in Spanish and English, across the globe  She is finalising a book on Bollywood star, Amitabh Bachchan, for BFI.  Her latest novel, Hotel Arcadia, has been published by Quartet Books.

Photo credit is: Walter White.

 

Links

Sunny Singh’s Website – www.sunnysingh.net

Book Trailer for ‘Hotel Arcadia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a5XxgqgkX8

‘The Stolen Girl’ by Renita D’Silva

The Stolen Girl

‘The Stolen Girl’ was published by Bookouture on Friday 12th September 2014.  I was very kindly given a copy of this book to review.  This is Renita D’Silva’s third novel.

How far would YOU go to protect your child?

That is the thought provoking question asked in this story.

Diya is thirteen years old and for as long as she can remember it has always been just her and her mum, Vani. She doesn’t even know who her dad is.  Over the years they have moved many times, never settling down anywhere properly.  But things are about to change.  In the blink of an eye Diya’s fragile world is shattered when her mum is arrested, accused of abducting Diya as a baby.

Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, never totally relaxed. She wants the best for her daughter and will do anything to protect her.  Life is going to be even harder for Vani now, but she will fight for Diya no matter what the outcome.

I had the feeling that I would enjoy reading this book. ‘The Stolen Girl’ has been split into five parts with each one being either in the past or present.  The story is narrated throughout by the three main characters Diya, Vani and Aarti.

All three characters had a tough time of it one way or the other, especially poor Vani.  I felt sorry for Aarti and what she went through in her childhood and although in a way it was understandable, I didn’t like the way she treated others.  It’s a pity she couldn’t move on.

I can tell that a lot of thought, work and care has gone into writing this novel. I really like the writing style and the way the story has been presented.  I found it easy to follow without getting confused.  Renita writes beautifully and describes things in such a colourful and wonderful way. The way she described the food made my mouth water.  I could almost see it being laid out on the table.

‘The Stolen Girl’ is a heart-breaking story about friendship, betrayal, possessiveness, love and motherhood.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

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