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Chetna Maroo

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Western Lane (2023) 180 eksemplarer

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27. Western Lane by Chetna Maroo
OPD: 2023
format: 151-page hardcover
acquired: December read: Apr 29 – May 3 time reading: 3:48, 1.5 mpp
rating: 5
genre/style: Contemporary Fiction theme: Booker 2023
locations: contemporary London and Edinburgh
about the author: A British Indian author born in Kenya, who lives in London.

A novel of wonderful rhythmic hypnotic prose. It took me a few sittings, but I found myself swept up in Gopi's world of grief and squash.

This is an unassuming novel on a grieving family of Jains in England. Jainism is an Indian religion akin to Hinduism, Sikhism, and even Buddhism. Their religious emphasis is non-violence and vegetarianism, none of which plays a direct role in the story. But the father takes pains to let his Pakistani friend know they are Jains, and so, different.

Sorry, where was I? The family is a dad and three very close sisters grieving over the recent loss of their mother. Her death hit the whole family hard and they try to make do. Dad is an electrician, so he has an income but not a big one. The older girls pick up some chores. And then Dad gets them into squash, more and more, eventually several hours a day. But while the older girls slowly back out of this training, the youngest daughter, Gopi, embraces it, taking to the sounds and rhythms of the play and the game flow and its strategies. She and her father watch the best squash players on a video cassette and discuss them. She is 11.

The entire book revolves around her world of squash, and her family's grieving. And while i knew to look for the rhythm, I didn't find it at first. For a bit it was just a regular book, and I set it aside a few days. Then I picked it up a four-hour flight and found myself deeply into it before I noticed the prose rhythms behind it. Yes, it's a nice story. But the telling is captivating. I got emotional in all the emotional spots. I fully bought in, sometimes slowing myself down so I could remember the reading, instead of the rush to finish. I was sad to finish.

… (mere)
dchaikin | 11 andre anmeldelser | May 11, 2024 |
Eleven-year-old Gopi has been playing squash since she was old enough to hold a racket. When her mother dies, her father enlists her in a quietly brutal training regimen, and the game becomes her world.

Slowly, she grows apart from her sisters. Her life is reduced to the sport, guided by its rhythms: the serve, the volley, the drive, the shot and its echo. But on the court, she is not alone. She is with her pa. She is with Ged, a 13-year-old boy with his own formidable talent. She is with the players who have come before her. She is in awe. 

I really enjoyed Western Lane, shortlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize. A beautiful, graceful book, short but unhurried, its a compelling tale of grief and compassion, family and competition.
… (mere)
Quizlitbooks | 11 andre anmeldelser | Apr 20, 2024 |
I think this is a lovely story.
dmurfgal | 11 andre anmeldelser | Apr 8, 2024 |
Thin and laboured. Struggling to see the beauty of the prose.
P1g5purt | 11 andre anmeldelser | Mar 26, 2024 |




½ 3.6

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