- Hardcover: 329 pages
- Publisher: Griffin (24 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250005183
- ISBN-13: 978-1250005182
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.9 x 21.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
The Lilac House
About the Author
Anita Nair lives in Bangalore, India. Her books have been published in several languages around the world. Her last novel,Mistress, was long listed for the 2008 Orange Prize in the UK, and named a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award in the U.S.The Lilac House was recently adapted for stage and film in India.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The stories are appealing and interestingly told, but over and above that, I like this book because of its feminist undertones. I found Nair's writing familiar and slid into it - sort of - the comfort of recognizable things? It might be because the terrain was so well-known and I recognized Indian terms and languages and mannerisms. So, yes I was totally engrossed and speed-read my way through.The author manages to tell an interesting tale even as she skillfully embeds life's truth's in them; I'm nodding my head and rereading passages.Highly recommended.
Part of my problem was that The Lilac House wasn't really written in scenes. It was more like snapshots - sometimes up to three in a page, separated by spaces. Initially this confused and irritated me because I was prepared to have moved on to a new scene only to discover we were still in the same one, it was just another thought or the continuation of the scene or it jumped to a flashback and then back to the scene instead of just a memory inserted into the prose. Once I got used to it (about half way through the book), I got over it, but I don't know it was completely necessary and deterred from the novel for me. It seemed to be a gimmicky way to create a sense of urgency to the read, as did the really short sentences used for most of the novel, and unfortunately it didn't really work for me.
There was also a lot of jumping around in this novel in addition to the short snapshot scenes which also caused some confusion as we hopped and skipped all over the place from the past to the present to the same scene to another, from Mera's perspective to Jak's. I was never clear where I was going to go during the multiple transitions and this aggravated me more than I would have liked as it sometimes took me paragraphs to realize where the next scene landed.
There were aspects I appreciated and could relate to such as Mera's struggles with her failed marriage and her need to move on, her worries about her children, especially her daughter after meeting Jak and Jak's desire to find out the truth, but I didn't really like either Mera or Jak's characters. I didn't find them really warm or entirely likeable. I felt Mera's children to be the most real in this novel and had one of the most touching scenes. The story of Jak's daughter was intriguing enough to continue reading to watch whether he can uncover the truth.
There were some details surrounding Jak and his daughter that I really didn't appreciate finding them shocking, repulsive and cringe inducing. I'm not going to spoil, but I shudder even writing this and unfortunately it is for this reason that The Lilac House will likely stay with me rather than for the characters or the story itself. Anyone looking for a more literary and heavier read may enjoy though!