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A Breath of Fresh Air by Amulya Malladi

A Breath of Fresh Air

by Amulya Malladi

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I know this book is about Anjali's strength and courage as she survives unspeakable situations, but it depressed the hell out of me. This book was not a breath of fresh air, after all, even after the "happy" ending. ( )
  amandacb | Mar 17, 2010 |
The story takes place in the India of 1980s and 90s. It’s a story of an Indian woman, Anjali, who is marked in two ways: she is a victim of Bhopal chemical explosion disaster, and she is divorced.
Anjali is divorced in a country which does not condone divorce, where women simply don’t get divorced, don’t ask for divorce, and don’t live on their own, in a country where even widows don’t marry again or live on their own. She does not live alone, though, she lives with her second husband and their son who, just like the children of Hiroshima disaster victims, is born with multiple problems and doesn’t have long to live.

This story wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. I expected it perhaps to be much more investigative and critical of the politics and social structures, and it was to some extent, but it was mainly about personal and social relationships. The real strength came from the characters who had enough depth to make the story believable and emotionally engaging. I didn’t think much of the style or the narration.
( )
1 vote Niecierpek | Feb 7, 2008 |
This book wasn't quite what I was expecting. It was mostly an Indian love story. But that doesn't mean I am discounting it. It was beautifully written and laid out. I liked how there was a bit of mystery to it. I loved how real the characters were. They were all very human. The author did a fantastic job of building the novella up.

I enjoyed very much the switching points of view so the reader was able to get a clear concise picture of what was happening, and not just who was initially perceived to be the main character, Anjali.

I also appreciated all of the Indian history that was thrown into the mix; The Bhopal Gas tragedy (which I honestly knew nothing about, but now thankfully I am reading up on) as well as Indira Ghandi's murder.

At first I thought I was going to be disappointed, but in the end I was not at all. Though I thought the ending was a bit lackluster. ( )
  goldiebear | Sep 5, 2007 |
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I waited impatiently for the first hour, and then I started to get impatient.
The fog was rolling softly into the vegetable bazaar and people were flocking around the vendors in woolen shawls and sweaters.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345450299, Paperback)

On the night of December 3, 1984, Anjali waits for her army officer husband to pick her up at the train station in Bhopal, India. In an instant, her world changes forever. Her anger at his being late turns to horror when a catastrophic gas leak poisons the city air. Anjali miraculously survives. Her marriage does not.

A smart, successful schoolteacher, Anjali is now remarried to Sandeep, a loving and stable professor. Their lives would be nearly perfect, if not for their young son’s declining health. But when Anjali’s first husband suddenly reappears in her life, she is thrown back to the troubling days of their marriage with a force that impacts everyone around her.

Her first husband’s return brings back all the uncertainty Anjali thought time and conviction had healed–about her decision to divorce, and about her place in a society that views her as scandalous for having walked away from her arranged marriage. As events unfold, feelings she had guarded like gold begin to leak away from her, spreading out into the world and challenging her once firm beliefs.

Rich in insight into Indian culture and psychology, A Breath of Fresh Air resonates with meaning and the abiding power of love. In a landscape as intriguing as it is unfamiliar, Anjali’s struggles to reconcile the roles of wife and ex-wife, working woman and mother, illuminate both the fascinating duality of the modern Indian woman and the difficult choices all women must make.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:34 -0400)

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In 1984 in Bhopal, India, Anjali's marriage to her army officer husband fails. Years later, after she has remarried, her first husband suddenly reappears in her life, and she is forced to reconcile her roles of wife, ex-wife, working woman, and mother.… (more)

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