Evening Is the Whole Day, By Preeta Samarasan Harper
Sunday 21 June 2009
"History begins only at the point where things go wrong; history is born only with trouble, with perplexity, with regret," wrote Graham Swift in Waterland, a line that acts as the epigraph to Preeta Samarasan's wistful debut novel.
There is indeed much going wrong in the troubled lives of these vivid characters, who are battling with both political and personal strife in Malaysia. The novel begins with a departure, as 18 year-old Uma leaves for New York, after which her six-year-old sister Aasha's "heart cracked and cried out in protest" – a heart which must also bear the loss of her grandmother.
There is much perplexity, too: the "Big House" where the Rajasekharan family lives is a moral maze of ambiguity shrouded in secrecy, above all about the mysterious dismissal of the servant girl.
It is the pervasive note of regret, however, which Samarasan captures most effectively; the painful dawning of realisation for these characters that there is no turning back. The prose could have been pruned of its breathless rush of adjectives, but this is nevertheless a promising and passionate new voice.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Black-ish: America's new 'racist' TV sitcom has had a mixed reception
Cilla, episode 3, ITV - review: Ed Stoppard steals the limelight as Beatles manager Brian Epstein
The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
The Jungle Book: A tale as old as time
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >