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Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki
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Bitter Sweets

by Roopa Farooki

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Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
(7.5) An impressive debut novel. This follows three generations of a Bangladeshi family and their immigration to England. Their family life becomes grounded in deception until a crisis occurs and Shona decides it is time to tell the truth for all of them to achieve happiness. A satisfying read and I look forward to reading more of her work. ( )
  HelenBaker | Feb 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really wanted to love this book more than I ended up loving this book. It reminded me much of Jhumpa Lahiri’s works (whom I wrote my master thesis on the collective works of), but I found it lacking in refinement that I think some time and more writing will help this author flourish brilliant with in the future.

I very much love that it was a general tale, told across multiple families for playing with postcolonial themes, and I’ll be keeping an eye on this author in the future. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Oct 3, 2016 |
It was a good story.
The plot was a little too convenient and predictable. I found some of the characters two-dimensional - stereotypical and overwritten.
However, it was entertaining and clearly based on some of the aspects of the author's own life. ( )
  GardeniaP | Mar 21, 2016 |
I loved Half Life by Roopa Farooki, but unfortunately Bitter Sweets fell a little short. An interesting story, but kind of all over the place at the same time. ( )
  erelsi183 | Nov 18, 2013 |
This novel starts off in Bangladesh, when Rashid (aka Ricky) Karim, a 17 year old youth with a promising future, is tricked into marrying Henna Rub, a manipulative and deceitful 13 year old, who sees marriage and subsequent motherhood as a way to escape school.

Years later, their daughter Shona elopes with a Pakistani who her family do not approve of. Shona and her husband Parvez run away to London, where money is short, but they are convinced that their love will keep them together. They have twin sons, Omar and Sharif.

As all three generations of the family negotiate their way through life, love and lies, they find themselves seemingly headed on a course to disaster. Will they ever find a way out of their tangled lives?

This book was a very pleasant surprise. When I started it, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but I found myself hooked on the story and eager to find out what would happen next. The tale takes place in London and Bangladesh, and I enjoyed the descriptions of both places.

If there is a main character, it is probably Shona; she is a beautifully drawn character, and so believable. She is intelligent and compassionate, but also has very human flaws, lying to herself as often as she tries to hide the truth from others. I liked her very much. The other characters are also well developed and easy to believe in.

The storyline had some twists and turns, and kept me hooked. The family soon became ensnared in the tangled web of lies of which they had become part. I had no idea how things would turn out, and thought that the ending when it came was very satisfying. There were themes of humour, sadness, anger and love running throughout the story; the title of this book is very apt, as it was certainly bittersweet.

This is the first book I’ve read by Roopa Farooki, but I am certainly going to seek out her other novels. ( )
  Ruth72 | Apr 27, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
By the end of this enjoyably breezy book it becomes clear that Ms. Farooki has been maneuvering her characters toward a major showdown. She contrives a twist of fate that will drag their hidden lives into the light. To her credit she does not make “Bitter Sweets” descend into either screwball revelations or angry ones. Despite its emphasis on deception, dislocation and the loss of love, her book retains a cheery consistency: It has managed to be sunnily devious from the start. And it delivers a refreshing message. Only by means of all their elaborate deceptions do these characters figure out who they really are.
 
As a debut work from a female novelist writing about the Bangladeshi diaspora, Bitter Sweets will invite comparison with Monica Ali's Brick Lane. Don't be deceived by Farooki's lighter, less political touch - at the heart of her intimate canvas lies a compelling emotional rigour.
added by kidzdoc | editThe Telegraph, Lucy Beresford (Feb 25, 2007)
 
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Epigraph
Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand
With a grip that kills it.
Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies, 1928

The truth is rarely pure, and never simple.
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895
Dedication
For my mother, my husband and my son, because they are all funny, kind and beautiful—although not necessarily in that order.
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Henna was thirteen when she was gleefully married off to the eldest son of one of the best families in Calcutta, and her marriage was achieved by an audacious network of lies as elaborate and brazen as the golden embroidery on her scarlet wedding sari.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312360525, Hardcover)

With this spellbinding first novel about the destructive lies three immigrant generations of a Pakistani/Bangladeshi family tell each other, Roopa Farooki adds a fresh new voice to the company of Zadie Smith, Jhumpa Lahiri and Arudhati Roy.
Henna Rub is a precocious teenager whose wheeler-dealer father never misses a business opportunity and whose sumptuous Calcutta marriage to wealthy romantic Ricky-Rashid Karim is achieved by an audacious network of lies. Ricky will learn the truth about his seductive bride, but the way is already paved for a future of double lives and deception--family traits that will filter naturally through the generations, forming an instinctive and unspoken tradition. Even as a child, their daughter Shona, herself conceived on a lie and born in a liar's house, finds telling fibs as easy as ABC. But years later, living above a sweatshop in South London's Tooting Bec, it is Shona who is forced to discover unspeakable truths about her loved ones and come to terms with what superficially holds her family together--and also keeps them apart--across geographical, emotional and cultural distance. 
Roopa Farooki has crafted an intelligent, engrossing and emotionally powerful Indian family saga that will stay with you long after you've read the last page.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Follows the machinations of a Bangladeshi-Pakistani family whose penchant for telling lies shapes the destinies of every member, from Henna, who lies her way into a marriage to a wealthy romantic, to her daughter Shona, who struggles with the superficialties binding her loved ones.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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