Waiting for the Monsoon

Waiting for the Monsoon

Book - 2012
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India, 1995. Charlotte Bridgwater lives with her father, a former British general, and just one loyal servant in a stately old mansion in the town of Rampur. Money is scarce and the once grand estate is crumbling. In a desperate bid to generate income, Charlotte rents a room to Madan, an Indian tailor with an astonishing talent for making beautiful garments. Madan is unable to communicate verbally, but the two have an immediate and electrifying connection. And, as the extreme heat before the impending monsoon paralyzes the residents of Rampur, the details of their lives unfold: Charlotte's unhappy childhood and the early death of her husband, Madan's poverty-stricken life on the streets, and how and when their paths have crossed before. Told in rich, rhapsodic prose, spanning decades and across continents, Waiting for the Monsoon is an unforgettable tale of love, loss, and the unwavering bond between two people.
Publisher: Toronto : Anansi International, 2012.
ISBN: 9780887842573
Characteristics: 538 p. ;,21 cm.


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Jul 21, 2012

I love the intricacy of plotlines that follow numerous strangers whose separate lives gradually intersect as the chapters unfold. Author Threes Anna accomplishes this masterfully in "Waiting for the Monsoon". Some of the mysterious connections between characters are not revealed until the thrilling final pages of the novel, and as a reader, I was left thinking about "What will happen next?" long after I closed the book.

The novel is set in India and shifts back and forth in time, through the opulence of the Raj to the terrors of the Pacific Front to modern times, slowly revealing the ties that bind each character together. I fell in love with India while reading this novel - despite there being so much to deplore. The depravity suffered by some of the characters made each scrap of compassion which surfaced in the story that much more satisfying. Detailed descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of India made me feel completely immersed in the setting. This is truly one of those novels that a reader "sinks into", completely losing awareness of everything going on around her.

I also enjoyed the depth of character development in this novel. Many characters, including the protagonist Charlotte Bridgwater, have less-than-admirable qualities and some of them are, at first glance, entirely despicable. Gradually, the author reveals the painful events that have shaped each character into the person - or the monster - that he/she has become. As a reader I was absorbed with the frustrating shortcomings of some of the characters, but appreciated how proficient the author had been in making these people so very, very human.

One of the reviews on the back of the book describes it as "A mixture of drama, comedy, and a little magic...a wonderful story of different, very beautiful, and evocative scenes". I agree wholeheartedly. I highly recommend this thoroughly captivating novel.

debwalker Mar 10, 2012

"Described by one Dutch reviewer as Slumdog Millionaire meets Jane Eyre, this novel may require more than one hankie at the ready."
Globe and Mail

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