Well first I must say we're all home from our trips and all in one piece. Unusually for us it was uneventful (well excluding the newly acquired travel sickness in the car and plane, and our taxi crashing into the back of a bus) but as I haven't uploaded or even looked at any photos yet, nor have I got my head together as we arrived home at midnight I thought I'd do
a little book review of my holiday reading.
I was given this book as a gift from my best friend when we were away together in January. We often buy each other little gifts to open when we get there, more often than not a book.
She started it the first year we went to the spa, she knew I'd been a bit stressed and was SO looking forward to a break, we stopped just outside of Norwich (about 15 miles from home!) for our McDonalds drive through coffee (it's traditional!) and she presented me with a beautifully wrapped box to cheer me up. Inside the box I found a very glamorous and very high heeled pair of strappy sandals, she went on to explain that they were a must buy and had only been in my size. Apparently she'd seen them some months before reduced from £125 to £5 - I never see bargains like that! I've never worn them but love looking at them in the wardrobe!
Most years we buy each other a book and this year I gave her my favourite read of 2013,
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson which had been a reading group choice and I reviewed it here.
She gave me a book she'd enjoyed earlier in the year although enjoyed may not be the right word.
It was this...
It took me a few days to get into it as it dots about telling the stories of four people and their families, two are related and the other two are seemingly unconnected at the start. Their stories go backwards and forwards in time for each group, until in a twisting and turning way they all meet due to their various circumstances. I may have found it hard to get in to as we were preparing for our respective trips at the time and I was a little stressed, however once we got away I couldn't put it down.
It is set largely in the mid 1970's in India and the main theme at the centre of the book is
"The Emergency" put into place by Indira Ghandi's government,
and how this affected those less well off and so called "slum dwellers".
Now although I enjoy learning new things about other cultures and their politics I found this a really tough book to read. Not a difficult read, it is superbly written and very easy in that respect. It is a difficult subject to have laid out in front of you, so clearly described - it's a hard subject to swallow.
I shed tears in the reading and had many other things to look up after we got home, I knew a few things but, as it turns out, not very much. This was a real eye opener and what ever I read on one page I hoped would turn into a happy ending overleaf, it never did.
There are a few phrases which I won't be able to forget, and I apologise if you find this upsetting but the one line which will stay with me forever is mid book where a beggar gives birth to a baby and that baby is then sent away for "professional modification" to become a more successful beggar himself. It was just written very matter of factly, that one line, I won't go into details but this line will stay with me forever, I knew it went on but in the book you have already got to know and like the man before you know his back story. I cried.
There are all manner of facts and figures which I knew nothing about, the population control, in more ways than one. The book's characters come from different religions, castes and areas of India although none are wealthy, it is a truly eye opening book, and very, very sad. Two of the main characters are tailors and in my opinion this can also be taken metaphorically, as they try to make, repair and join many other things, not just the fabric they use for their work.
I would highly recommend the book, but it's not for the feint hearted.