Maybe I’m just a little bit biased because my name shows up in this book! I’ll give it a 3.5 star, but rounded up although at the end of the day it is a pretty standard story.
This is a quirky little gothic-y book by way of Bangalore. It’s a very condensed version of the White Tiger story of what it takes to rise in Indian society, and the people you crush along the way like so many small ants. I enjoyed not feeling “too dumb” for the book, in that there were plenty of themes that a reasonably aware reader could pick up on. It’s dense with meaning and ~*theme~* so I would imagine most people would feel the same.
The classic issue:
In my thinking, what came to the family was mine. In her mind, my family and I were separate entities.
Anita’s family is the one that coins the phrase ghachar ghochar a set of nonsense words to describe a hopelessly tangled web of mess. So much of India feels like that, a hopeless entangled situation in which you can create portions of order. But much like with an actual knotted rope, doing so only pushes the tangles to other areas and eventually makes everything much worse.
The family has made it to the top by virtue of sticking together and pushing everyone else out. That’s just the way it is, fend for yourself and care for nothing and no one else. Not even a generation removed from squalor, that mentality of grasping, of not feeling secure plays into all the decisions of the family. And into it comes Anita, whose ledge into the middle class comes from her professor (I think?) parent–knowledge, the great equalizer, that cannot be taken from you.
The result was that we simply did not desire what we couldn’t afford. When you have no choice, you have no discontent, either.
Anita knows what’s out there, though. She’s from the outside. And she is on the inside. Such tension can only snap the rope.