I loved the humor and humanity of the characters and the story. It is so easy to paint two dimensional caricatures of those "others" and this story transcends.
I just sent off this memo to Netflix... I couldn't wait to finish the book.
"I have enjoyed this book immensely and the more I've gotten into it-(I'm almost done), the more I imagine Netflix turning this into a series. The book has everything: interesting and intelligent characters, diversity up the ying yang, poignancy, insight into east & western cultures...and best of all done with such humour! I have not read anything this funny in so long; sly and blatant both! Please please please consider it!!! Also, just wanted to mention that I have been listening to this on Audible, the book narrated by Jenny Sterlin. She does an amazing job and if you haven't heard this, DO listen! She defines and illuminates this book like nobody I've ever listened to. Her take is the one you need to go after!"
I don't have the words... This book is so clever, so intelligent and so funny!!!!
It's got everything.
I have listened to her read other books (Elizabeth George books?). She's a fine narrator, no complaints. But the book, of course, has much to do with how much you can achieve as a narrator. This is such a good book for Jenny to read, and she just get's it! She gets these characters and illuminates them, she helps us see them, really see them. I feel like she and the author must be sympatico souls, on the same wave length, everything "fit"! And, well I just know I wouldn't have gotten as much from this book if I'd read only the print version.
Really good question for this book. The characters are flawed of course, but all quite likable.
I think I'd have to pick Alsana...she is a hoot and says it like she sees it. A great example of being somewhat entrenched in the culture from which she derives, but also able to see how the new culture (she & her family are British transplants from Bangladesh) is influencing her young sons and herself and how miserable her husband, Samad, is because he refuses to see anything apart from his Bangal (?) beliefs and traditions! She is quite a modern woman emerging from an old culture entrenched in tradition.
But I also loved Irie (I picture her as the Narrator for the Netflix series I imagine). Also one of the few characters who you feel like she "sees" what's going on all around her; she understands the dynamics of these people, what motivates them, what drives them. Both Alsana and Irie are characters who ground the reader and bring us back from the brink of unreality, that feels like insanity some times. This is kind of wild and crazy ride of a book really.
Be patient reader. It took a bit before I really got excited about this book, but not too long. It takes time to get to know a character well. I wouldn't change a thing, because the beginning stories which follow the patriarchs of the two main families, are really necessary. Their story and all of the individual stories each character has, is told subsequently, and together, they pull you into the midst of these families in a way that you feel like you really "know" them and even understand them quite well. Maybe you even belong to them.
The characters are all great, well developed, interesting. The overall structure of the story is also great though it becomes a little contrived by the end. It's very engaging throughout, and the great performance enhances that.