Tuesday 8 December 2009
The Many Conditions of Love by Farahad Zama
Published by Abacus in 2009
You may remember earlier in the year that I reviewed the first book in this series called The Marriage Bureau for Rich People.
I really enjoyed the first book and I was desperate to read the next installment, so I was over the moon to find that the library has recently acquired it.
This book is set about a year after the first book and looks at the day to day life of Mr Ali as he moves his marriage bureau into the modern world.
This book looks very closely at the marriage of his assistant Aruna, as she settles into married life, only to find a lot of obstacles to overcome. The book also looks at the relationship of Rehman( Mr Ali's son) and Usha, a very rich girl who is not a Muslim.
I mentioned in my previous book review for this series, that it had the feel of The No1 Ladies Detective Agency and I would say that this one also gave me that impression. It has the same simplicity about it that I found in the first book.
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the second installment as much as the first. I found the story just did not hold my interest. It felt a little like deja vu as you looked once again at the struggle for young modern Indians to live life as they would like, rather than follow the traditions of their parents. I found the writing slightly annoying. Everything that they do written in short sentences, without an interesting adjective appearing in them and repeatedly using the word 'then', to begin each sentence.
The characters got on my nerves in this one. They seem to spend all their time upset and arguing with each other. The book didn't even end on a high note; I actually felt depressed when I finished reading it, as two of the main characters went through such an ordeal to be together, then called off their wedding at the end.
I really struggle with the idea of marrying someone my parents would have selected for me and I feel sorry for the people who have to enter a marriage like this. However, as a parent I can see why they only want the best for their children and want to find someone of equal standing.
If you want to read about the caste system, then I would suggest reading the first book. The second book really doesn't live up the brilliance of the first.