The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal

Publisher: Transworld Books

Originality: ♥♥♥♥
Quality of Writing: ♥♥♥♥
Characters: ♥♥♥
Setting: ♥♥♥
Overall: ♥♥♥/♥

As much as this book was really well written, I however found it wasn't quite for me. Perhaps it is because I may be too young to empathise and follow the lead female character, Shyama. On that note, Meera Syal shows a very strong literary talent right from the beginning of the novel.

"Religion is for those who believe in hell, spirituality is for those who have already been there." (Pg1)

This is possibly the most beautiful opening I have ever read, immediately grabbing my attention. As the book goes on, readers are given plenty of background to Shyama's character, her feelings and thoughts all pushed from the past into the present. Shyama is approaching fifty, has a young white boyfriend (big deal in some Indian cultures), and now wants a baby with him. The problem is that she can't. Her maternal body has shut down. So she travels with her boyfriend to India to find a surrogate; here she meets Mala, a woman who is desperate to escape her oppressive marriage.

This book is about how these two women help each other realise their dreams and aspirations. Essentially, it is a very simple and slow moving book, and although I have nothing against books with gentle storylines, I found that this story lacked any height. I did favour Mala's narrative over Shyama, as her life is very different and authentic. I also liked how Syal picks up on typical Indian ups and downs including big gossipers and big weddings etc. Being Indian myself, this was the only part I could connect with the protagonist.

The House of Hidden Mothers is definitely worth reading for older women who are of Shyama's generation (for example this book being is now being handed over to my mother who will enjoy it more than myself), and for those who like beautiful language strung throughout a simple story. Overall, this is a 3 star book in my opinion, but for the right audience, it is a well deserved four star.

P.S The cover is beautiful, looks brilliant on my bookshelf! (Also, the title is equally pretty and suiting to the text). 


Search This Blog