Publisher: SoHo Publishing
Synopsis: Pinky lives with her grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins and the family servants in a bungalow in Bombay’s more affluent parts a decade after partition. The family appear normal on the outside but inside the walls of the bungalow secrets flourish, from the innocent candy hiding of one of the teenage boys to the dark secret that will forever change all of them.
My Thoughts: This was a deliciously creepy book. Seriously I was freaked out almost the whole time. In a totally good way.
The story is incredibly well told. It is full of suspense, and red herrings. I thought I had it all figured out but then the story threw me yet another curve ball. I really hadn’t figured out the final twist when it came. I should have because there were hints of it but I really had no clue. I thought the solution would be quite different.
The Bombay after Partition is vividly portrayed. The differences in the different stratus of society is palpable. The language is so very beautiful. I loved the way Agarwal mixes English with Hindi in a way that makes the book feel authentic. It made me feel as if I was in the bungalow. The one criticism I have of this (and really the only one I have of the book in total) is the use of italics for the Hindi words. For me this was very distracting. I’m quite a visual reader, I see words as pictures and when I picture differs from the other on the page my eyes are drawn to it, the italicized words make me miss other words on the page, or at least stop my flow. It’s minor, and possibly wouldn’t cause the same problems for others.
The ghost story takes on the culture of the Indian subcontinent and allows the reader to experience a culture that might be unfamiliar (it certainly is for me). Many of the techniques were common to other ghost stories but some were new to me.
This was another book for the R.I.P. V Challenge and although I don’t normally read spooky books this challenge has definitely gotten me interested in reading more. In addition this is my final book for the SAAC challenge which got me reading books from South Asia, something I will definitely be doing again, I also hope to be seeing more from this author!
This is definitely a book I would recommend (as a matter of fact I have every intention of lending it to my supervisor at school who showed an interest in it when she saw me reading it at lunch).