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Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel by Samina Ali
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Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel (2004)

by Samina Ali

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Madras on Rainy Days has been overlooked. I am grateful and honored to have read it.

This book is haunting as you begin to feel as the main character does and become more drawn to her experience. The story itself is complex and compelling. I found the psychological and emotional portrayal of Layla and other characters to be intricate, multi-layered and intriguing. It felt honest and I empathized with the characters. I especially appreciated Layla's feeling straddled between two cultures and its resulting confusion is described.

Reading this book was a pleasure; it held my attention. And the beauty of the writing augments the story itself and the thoughtful and deep characterizations. I'm definitely keeping an eye out for this author's next book. ( )
  ming.l | Mar 31, 2013 |
Madras on Rainy Days is a novel with some very unexpected turns of fate. I found the insight into arranged marriages in the Muslim faith very interesting. This plot is complex on many levels. Both the bride and groom bring secrets to their marriage. Their relationship is at times heartwarming, at others, heart wrenching. Samina Ali certainly explores the many faces of love in this novel. She also chooses to illuminate and question the shackles that culture and custom place on people. The protagonists of this story are most surely caught in a world of fantasy, hopes and beliefs that does not serve them as individuals. Not an upbeat read. Thought provoking ending. Topics covered include arranged marriages, Muslim culture, roles of women, political fanaticism, homosexuality. love and social standing.
1 vote astridnr | Mar 2, 2012 |
Picked this up a month or so back when I stopped in to release some books on the shelf. Read it while on a trip to Atlanta. Having lived in India, and in a highly Muslim area, I was interested to read many of the details, especially in the beginning, about weddings and commitments. But I also found the writing a little ambiguous in some crucial areas. For instance, for the longest time, I was unclear if Layla needed a good Ob/Gyn, psychiatrist, or exorcism. The "mystery" of her husband's behavior was no real mystery to people immersed in Western culture, but the author stuck to the point of view of the east, which, while frustrating to this reader, was truthful to the thrust of the story. I was a bit surprised when the "reveal" came 2/3 of the way through the book, and am still slightly stunned by the direction the author chose to take the story. Not a book for the faint-hearted, but a shockingly all-too-real depiction of some of the violence that still occurs when religious differences become involved.

Part of my discomfort with this book has to do with having to read about seemingly senseless and unplanned violence, where the violence is simply against a type or class or group of people, and the victim is circumstantial (not that I approve of violence in a planned manner, but this type particularly scars my psyche.) ( )
  bookczuk | Nov 26, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312423306, Paperback)

"A lyrical debut" (Asian Week) exploring the dilemma confronting Layla, a second generation Indian-American Muslim. As a dutiful Muslim daughter and an independent young American, Layla is torn between clashing identities. Reluctantly agreeing to her parents' wish for her to leave America and submit to an arranged marriage, Layla enters into the closed world of tradition and ritual as the wedding preparations get underway in Hyderabad. Set against a background of rising Hindu-Muslim violence, and taboo questions of sexuality, Samina Ali presents the complexities of life behind the chador, and the story of a marriage where no one is what they seem. In the words of the San Francisco Chronicle, Madras on Rainy Days introduces an "abundantly talented new voice."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:39 -0400)

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Clashing identities - Muslim and American.

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