Books, life the universe

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Children's Book and others

I used to read anything A S Byatt wrote and was totally bowled over by her Booker prize winning Possession, but after that high point I found her writing lacked that certain something. I was very disappointed with Babel Tower and after that I didn't read any more by her. But I've decided I'll give her another chance and have bought The Children's Book as it sounds very much my sort of thing. I will report on it in future posts.

I've started - and nearly finished - The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama. It is excellent. Vaguely reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith in its gentle humour and old fashioned morality. It deals in an interesting way with those prickly subjects arranged marriage and religion and is set in India. Mr Ali is getting under his wife's feet now he has retired and he decides to set up a marriage bureau - for the rich. His wife has doubts about the new venture but is glad to have her kitchen back.

Soon he is so busy he needs to take on an assistant and Mrs Ali finds him a very nice young lady to help him. One of the charms of the book for me is that the main characters are good at recognising the evil in people without letting this blind them to the good. Mr Ali is an absolute gem. He discusses religion with anyone who tries to convert him in the street and his wife fears that one day someone will take exception to him drawing out the similarities in all religions.

The book is billed as the start of a series so I shall look forward to the next one.

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