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Alka Joshi

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10 verk 1,925 medlemmar 120 recensioner

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It's the 1950's in newly independent India. Lakshmi Shastri is a henna artist, making a name for herself for her designs and herbal remedies. Having fled from her arranged marriage she is trying to build a life for herself in Jaipur, with a dream to build her own house where she could bring her ageing parents from the province where she grew up.

But, her life is about to change when a 13-year-old sister shows up at her doorstep with her estranged husband, a sister she never knew she had.

In the heart of it, this is a really well-written piece of historical fiction. Alka Joshi paints a vivid image of the Jaipur society ruled by social norms and the caste system of the time.
Lakshmi is an interesting female protagonist and many other characters are unique and well done.

The plot is a little soapy, but it works. Even though the topics in this book are often very heavy, there is a particular lightness to it, so at times it feels like a fairy tale. This to me shows the skill of Joshi as a storyteller.
If there is one thing I didn't like - the character of Radha could've been given a little bit more depth and clarity.

4.5 stars rounded up!

… (mer)
ZeljanaMaricFerli | 78 andra recensioner | Mar 4, 2024 |
The Henna Artist follows Lakshmi, a henna artist living in Jaipur, India in the 1950s, as she escapes her abusive husband, saves for a home of her own, and cares for a sister she only just found out about.

The premise originally seemed intriguing, and I was quite excited to read it. Unfortunately, it did not live up to expectation. It felt very trauma touristy, taking a woman from among the top social classes in India and making her life miserable, which gave it a sour feeling. The problems she was having seemed more in line with the working class in the US instead of the elite in India. Additionally, it was written in a way that made it seem like it was taking place, at the earliest, in the 1980s, not the 1950s. It also oddly felt like it was supportive of teenage pregnancy(???) despite Lakshmi trying to convince her 13-year-old sister to get an abortion.

Even beyond the content of the book, I did not care for the writing style. Lakshmi kept dealing with the same things over and over again, to the point that it got boring reading about it. It also tried so hard to be unpredictable that it swung all the way around to being extremely predictable.

I would not have finished this had I not read it for a book club.
… (mer)
Griffin_Reads | 78 andra recensioner | Feb 2, 2024 |
Great story, written to draw you in. I found out near the end that a series is coming - can't wait!
rosenmemily | 78 andra recensioner | Jan 7, 2024 |
BookyMaven | 78 andra recensioner | Dec 6, 2023 |



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