Leave it to by Me by Bharati Mukhrjee

I picked up this book purely on the basis of the author. I have read previous works by this author in my student days and really enjoyed them. Her novels which I read are mostly on the immigrant family settings coming to America. The cross cultural experiences and adaptation are much too familiar to an immigrant settler in Canada like myself, or any youngster with Asian parents and growing up in the west.

But this book is different and defies all expectations. Reading it s a perpetual mental workout in which you keep panting for air to come to terms with the wits and wickedness of characters and exchange of loaded dialogues. Often I had to reread several pages to grasp the scenes and situations and what it meant. It is a very fast paced sprint across the very American lives of morbid characters. Of course the reader has to be familiar with the American life as portrayed in the settings.

For me it posed quite a challenge even though I grew up in Canada and spent a few grown up years in USA. I integrated with the mainstream Canadian and American settings more than an average immigrant or first generation born Canadian/ American would. Yet I was struggling to keep up with the pace and wickedness in the unfolding drama.

The novel certainly demonstrates the complexity of human nature and vulnerability to destiny and mysticism . Through witty narration it provides a unique perspective of evolution of a society and generation during the Cold War era and onset of globalization. The impact of Vietnam war, manifested in emergence of hippy culture, consumerism, power politics in exploitation , absurdity in human relations are portrayed in a convoluted plot intertwined with flashbacks.

If you are up to mental aerobics and vivid imagination, this is the novel for you.

Read other Book Reviews on beyond nothing .com