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por Balli Kaur Jaswal
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About 3.5 stars, but not quite 4. Much of this has to do with the typical narrative structure of this book.
This is about ten-year-old Pin (going on eleven) growing up Sikh in late 80s, early 90s multicultural Singapore. It's a coming of age tale that has at its heart family secrets, relationships between women, sexism, religion, tradition vs modernity, and the meaning of food. In many ways, it has all the tropes of realist fiction set in these parts or in and around Asia--the 3.5 stars is less about the book and more about my weariness with this particular narrative. I'm sort of tired of the "family secrets/learning about oneself through a series of events that hint at a hidden trauma and resolved by the end"-type thing. The ending is moving and hopeful, but also predictable and has the usual tinge of "redemption for all". I think she wrote the final chapter with grace, without sentimentality, but the whole arc of the book is still somewhat predictable. There are occasional moments of humour that are very well-done, dry and deadpan, and I did wish there was more of that.
Having said that, it's a well-written book that highlights the life of a minority and the casual racism that's prevalent in Southeast Asia, and it was a nostalgic read for me because it reminded me of the Malaysia I grew up in. I think something crucial about this is not just the outsider status Pin and her family have because of their race and religion, but also because of class. So even though Singapore has the status of an advanced economy, this book is worlds apart from those Kevin Kwan books - about which the less said, the better. It shows you what life is like when you're a have-not in a have-all economy. Definitely recommended if the subject interests you and if you would like to know what Singapore is like for its minorities.
"Pin must not become like her mother, but nobody will tell her why. She seeks clues in Ma's cooking when she's not fighting other battles - being a scholarship girl at an elite school and facing racial taunts from the bus uncle. Then her meddlesome grandmother moves in, installing a portrait of a watchful Sikh guru and a new set of house rules. Old secrets begin to surface, but can Pin handle learning the truth?"--
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Sistema Decimal de Melvil (DDC)823.92Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 2000-
Classificação da Biblioteca do Congresso dos EUA (LCC)
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Author: Balli Kaur Jaiswal
The book is about life. It is about a young girl living in a land where her mother protects her dreams. Pin or Parveen, her deeds are insulated by her mother from the evil and tormenting realities of life. Though the plot looks complicated, it is quite engaging.
What to expect from the story?
This book, Sugarbread by Balli Kaur Jaiswal, is a stunning story of ten-year-old Pin (Parveen), who lives and grows up in Singapore in the early 90s. Hers is a simple life with her friends, football, and a happy childhood with her parents. Right from the start, the story and mention of food go hand in hand. This is one of the interesting aspects of Jaiswal's writing.
Who can read?
I recommend the book for those readers who are the readers of serious fiction. The book will interest those readers who like cross-border issues and nationalities related circumstances.
How good are the characters?
The book's characters are so realistic that a reader might find his or her reflection in the characters. Like in real life, the characters deal with every human emotion. Be it happiness, sadness, disappointments or disagreements; there are life-changing sequences written so realistically that the readers cannot stop lauding the author's writing.
How good is the narration?
The story's narration is flowing, shocking, disturbing, fascinating and haunting. The attractive point of the story is in the initial pages of the story. The story is so engaging from the initial pages itself, and as the readers turn the pages, they will get involved in the story immensely. The situations explained that happen in reality in every part of the world hooks the readers' minds. The chaos, the woes and the cries are vividly explained.
How good are the language and grammar?
The language used in the story is effective. I used the word effective because there are certain places where her writing skills surprise the readers. The idioms and the analogies she uses in explaining some emotions is stunning.
How good is the author's writing style?
Author Balli Kaur Jaiswal is known and admired for her writing skills. This is my second book of hers and her story-telling is absolutely engaging. Wherever possible, Miss Jaiswal points the indifferences and biased shown by the Singaporean nationals. Other than this, the cultural aspects affecting the living of the people in a land different from their land is shown well.
How entertaining is the book?
The book is set up in the 90s era in the country of Singapore. The story is narrated from the perspective of a child which makes the read more interesting. This novel is written in a sensitive tone which has layers of raw emotions of love and empathy. The story also has so much description of food in ever chapters. The mention of food and emotions go hand in hand in the book. As the book is about a Sikh family, there is also a lot of mention about religion and religious Gurus. I found this mention a little difficult to interpret as I cannot relate to the Sigh religion concepts. The readers who concur with these thoughts will find the book good.
Sensitive, empathetic and interesting!
3/5 ( )