“Despite all the blatant deterioration, all the decomposition, things survive. In fact, they thrive. Things are ready to bludgeon you with their aliveness.”
I can’t make up my mind as if to whether I liked this book or loved it. I have read a book with a happy ending after a long time and maybe that’s the reason of this confusion staying with me. Doshi has expressed the delitescent images of our lives and makes us question their importance.
Grace leading a muddled life in America returns to India on the demise of her mother only to explore various strings attached to her childhood in which the biggest takes her to Lucia. Her sister. A girl rather a woman with down syndrome abandoned by her parents few months after her birth. When both the sisters unite, they take hostage in a luxurious house left by the mother near beach. Lucia comes out of her home for years tasting the new freedom with her pup friends. Meanwhile, Grace tries to take a shelter hiding from her responsibilities back in America and engaging herself in new ones.
Throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but think about various questions. Are people able to make their own identity apart from what their profession tells about them? Do their identity revolve around the lives of people? How hard do people try to fit in an already puzzled yet non-puzzled world? How sometimes we take the happiness of one as the contentment of both in a relationship?
Sometimes, I used to sympathise with Grace and felt a shiver reading about her dejected life. Her relationship with Lucia was a precious one (though I don’t support her beating Lucia) but I could understand the irritation she experienced when devoid of her personal space all the time, how she could not spend few days without looking after Lucia or the whole army of pups. It felt as if she used to come to the city to lose herself only to find a new Grace. The time when she was with Blake, everyone used to appreciate her for having him as an amazing partner but she did not receive any kind of admiration in that respect.
The author has provided such a beautiful imagery of her village and Pondicherry that I wish to visit it real soon.
I so wished that I would have liked this book the same way I liked ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. I had really good expectations but it did not make through. The story revolves around an old man, Eddie who dies in an unfortunate accident at the amusement park while rescuing a little girl. He meets five different people in heaven who were in one or the other way connected to him whether as a family member or a stranger. They all meet him at the places which they considered heaven for themselves and provide him with a lesson.
I, personally, do not believe in the concept of heaven and after life which could be the reason behind me not liking the book. Though the characters were connected to each other in a manner but I could not relate to them at all. The scene where the third person i.e, the dead woman supported the interest of Mickey by stating that he was lost and confused while assaulting Eddie’s mother was pretty vague to me and I did not want to continue it but had to know the ending which was same as the way I expected. The novel ends at the point where Eddie after meeting all the destined individuals waited for the little girl whom he saved.
Have you ever read an author or a book whose work you would want to read multiple times and still expect to unfold different layers and get that amusing factor upon every reading? For me, it’s definitely Toni Morrison. Her works make me wonder how can someone contrive something so beautiful while describing petrifying moments whether it was Eva killing her own son or Sula standing in a corner and watching her own mother burning alive.
Morrison has weaved the story of two childhood friends with contrasting personalities who grew apart with time but the love and the sense of caring remained constant. Nel’s mother, Helene used to suppress the excitement, enthusiasm and opinions which every child shares at a young age whose reflection could also be seen in her adulthood when Sula’s and Jude’s betrayal still seemed to her as a vision. On the other hand, Sula did not care about what others think about her and did the things the way she wanted them to be.
I couldn’t resist myself but think about Beloved where Sethe killed own child to guard her from the atrocities of slavery and relate it to Eva where she attempted to kill baby Plum without knowing the exact reason. Later as well, she killed him just because he wasn’t “man enough” according to her. She feared that he would dwell beside her forever and haunt her life just like that. But was this killing or the murder justified?
When Sula dies, nobody in the entire town turn up to offer any help so that her body could reach the mortuary and she could get a proper funeral except Nel. She was the only known person at the time of her burial. The others just watched the whole process from a distance. People termed Sula as a witch but did Nel also think the same about her friend? Despite of all the differences which occurred between them, Nel still showed up which make us believe the strong bond their friendship had.
The novel also has few segments showcasing the war through the character of Shadrack telling us how the mind of people get twisted due to the adversities which they had to go through. I also want to focus on the character of Deweys as how they weren’t connected biologically but the upbringing by Eva modulated them in such a manner that later on, they were difficult to be differentiated. I wanted to know more about Tar Baby and really what happened to Eva’s leg but I believe, I can live with peace even if I don’t know the answers.
The novel is written in an epistolary form and talks about the life of a black girl named Celie who experiences a lot of devastating moments throughout. She is repeatedly raped by a man whom she believed to be her father, got pregnant at a young age, her children were taken away, was restrained into a lifeless relationship with Mr. Albert and separated from her beloved sister, Nettie.
All the characters are far different from each other but still connected by the malice engrossed in the society. One of the major issues tackled in the book is patriarchy and how the women take their stand against it. The ‘father’ of Celie sends her off to Mr. Albert which kind of portrays how she moves from the umbrella of one man’s to another’s. She is supposed to behave in a set manner and do all the household chores. With the introduction of Sofia in the text who isn’t confined to a space guarded by the males in her life, Celie becomes envious and longs of the strength and brave attitude which she possesses. Her life takes a turn with the entry of Shug Avery who isn’t afraid of embracing and enjoying her sexuality. The relationship between Shug and Celie with a hint of lesbianism is also brought into light. The African culture and missionaries through the eyes of Nettie is also an interesting topic which the author has touched upon as this concept was prevalent at that point of time.
What I really liked about this book is the transformation of Celie from a meek, timid and dependent girl to a woman who raised her voice against Mr. Albert near the end of the novel, starts her own business and is financially independent. The life of Nettie in Africa does not interest me much. The ending seemed dramatic yet satisfactory as to how Celie believed that her sister and children are dead but one day, they just appear in the front yard. The happiness experienced by the characters and obviously me, was worth everything.
If you are looking to start with something in African – American literature or Black literature, I would highly recommend you to read this piece. The condition of women in an already racist society with patriarchy in their own race is beautifully presented by Walker here. It would make you experience a potpourri of emotions, encompassing contentment, dejection, anger and pain.