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Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand

Untouchable (1935)

by Mulk Raj Anand

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4811430,726 (3.55)33



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A day in the life of a single Dalit and the ways in which he secures food and tries to accommodate his mixture of yearning and resignation with those of his family and those of the castes above him.

Feels much more modern than what I expected from a 1930s book. Beautifully written. Concerned with the plight of the Dalit and their slave-like existence on the periphery of Hindu society, but does so not through melodrama or preachiness, but by presenting their lives as-is. Attitudes and viewpoints are contrasted, not by setting up straw characters to serve as mouthpieces for political views, but by having nuanced characters clash in nuanced ways. Life as she is lived makes an excellent case for change, better than authorial filibustering ever could. The one speech that does make it into the book is admittedly anvilicious, but even that is tempered by how its effects on the main character are different from the ones intended. Even so, the book left me wonderfully conflicted. Nicely done! ( )
  Petroglyph | Oct 1, 2017 |
Untouchable by Sibel Hodge is the best psychological thriller that I’ve read this year. Psychological thrillers are one of my favorite genres, so I’m always super excited when I find a new author who knows how to write a page-turner like this one.

The synopsis describes this novel as “chillingly dark”, which I think is the perfect description. Maya and her boyfriend Jamie are about to celebrate their second year anniversary. Jamie is several hours late returning home for their anniversary celebration. The police arrive at their home and deliver Maya the devastating news that Jamie hanged himself in the woods. Maya doesn’t believe Jamie would commit suicide, because he was happy that morning and discussed their evening plans. Her suspicion grows and her personal investigation leads her to a children’s home called “The Big House” where child sex abuse is commonplace. Maya wants to reveal the truth, but the people involved want to keep it a secret.

This engaging thriller made me wish I could read faster because I was dying to know what happened next. I love how the author built suspense by leaving cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. The alternating points of view work well in this novel. It actually adds to the suspense. The storytelling was so captivating that I couldn’t tab through the eBook fast enough.

The characters were so well developed they felt real, especially Maya, Jamie, Mitchell and the children and staff at “The Big House”. I was still thinking about them days after I finished the book. I felt sorry for those boys at “The Big House” having to face that horrible abuse, which is such a difficult topic to write about in a novel. I don’t think most writers like to touch topics like child sex abuse, but Sibel Hodge handled it courageously and sensitively. I appreciated the fact that the author implied most of the sexual acts and avoided details. It’s still difficult to read those scenes knowing what’s going on even if the writer isn’t spelling it out for you.

The only part that dragged a little for me was at the 75% mark in the eBook. Honestly, I don’t’ even remember what was going on at the time, but I just wanted it to get to the resolution. Other than that, the story kept moving at a good pace. I kept incorrectly guessing how this was going to end, but it still had a great ending. I’d love to read a sequel just because of how it ended.
Fans of psychological thrillers will enjoy this one.

A special thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
This book is very interesting and a great look into Indian culture. It captures the many humiliations, trials and tribulations of Bakha, a latrine cleaner, and his experiences at the hands of higher caste Hindus. You cannot but help have empathy for the way Bakha is treated. It is a very short read but very enlightening. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
First of all, I have to say it's pretty awesome to have E. M. Forster write the preface for your book.

Briefly, this is the story of one day in the life of a young untouchable (latrine-cleaner, lowest caste of Hindu society). We experience all his emotions and all the abuse that is heaped on him and clearly see the horrors of the caste society, but it is much more interesting than that. We experience the teeming vibrancy of Indian life and the convoluted thoughts and feelings of a frustrated teenager, surprisingly appealing. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
It is perhaps not fair that I am giving this book only one star as I didn't finish it, but I have been trying to read it for a full four weeks now and cannot get past page 44. I pick it up, read a couple paragraphs and put it back down. Clearly this book does not speak to me. Perhaps I will try it again at a later date, but for now it is time to admit defeat and move on. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
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Some years ago, I came across a copy of a book by myself, A Passage to India, which had apparently been read by an indignant Colonel. (Preface)
The outcastes' colony was a group of mud-walled houses that clustered together in two rows, under the shadow both of the town and the cantonment, but outside their boundaries and separate from them.
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Explores the plight of the `Untouchables' in Hindu society in the 1930s.

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Average: (3.55)
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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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