Six admirable female protagonists lead heartfelt and fulfilling tales.

SCATTERED PETALS

In this short story collection, women from different countries and walks of life undergo transformative experiences through family and culture.

The female characters in the six stories in this volume have diverse backgrounds but also numerous similarities. For example, Uma is a married woman living in Calcutta in “Conscience,” and Mia of “Change” is a widowed Californian. But both women are teachers. And while Mia has lost her husband, Glen, Uma’s marriage to Lalit is strained, as he’s rarely home. All the women dauntlessly face significant changes, which often entail traveling to or living in other countries. In the opening tale, “From the Heart,” Min-Seo is a South Korean wife who moves to France with her husband, Ji Hoon. She’s a sociable individual who now feels withdrawn, as she struggles to communicate with people in an unfamiliar tongue. Likewise, in “Fourteen Days,” Indian American Julie takes a trip to Calcutta, where her parents are from. She’s shocked when she realizes that her 14-year-old maid, Saras, in India doesn’t attend school. Julie is determined to help her despite indifference from the girl’s employer. The female characters furthermore overcome the burden of other people’s expectations. Saras, for one, ran away from home to evade an arranged marriage when she was a mere 11 years old. In the same vein, both Mia’s mother and her son, Pierce, believe she should date eligible Kyle, Glen’s former tennis partner. But Mia asserts that she’s not lonely. Ghose Chotani (Pictures Through the Rearview Mirror, 2018) uses various cultures to enrich her tales. Whether they’re persevering in their own culture or immersed in an entirely new one, the women continually learn from their experiences, which makes for dynamic characters and more robust stories. The author’s detail-laden prose is expressive, though occasionally verbose, like the description of a train that passes “the platform and buildings, then, swiftly, picked up speed, fast.” But she also infuses her stories with profundity: “Life is about constant readjustment,” and anticipating that things will stay the same “is placing oneself in the puddle of ignorance.”

Six admirable female protagonists lead heartfelt and fulfilling tales.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5437-0510-2

Page Count: 362

Publisher: PartridgeIndia

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

Did you like this book?

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more