Gypsy Masala

by Preethi Nair | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0007143478 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingkinediwing of Rushyford, County Durham United Kingdom on 5/26/2005
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15 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingkinediwing from Rushyford, County Durham United Kingdom on Thursday, May 26, 2005
Gypsy Masala follows the lives of 3 people--Sheila, Bali and their foster daughter, Evita. Each has their own crippling aspect. British-born Evita is stuck in a job and love life that don't inspire. Sheila, frozen by her experience of being torn from warm, passionate India to grey England. Bali, having lost not only his first child but also the woman he adored and risked everything for.

The catalyst of hope and confidence to change the character's circumstances comes in the form of the African dancer--an apparition that appears accompanied by the thumping, vital music of beating hearts. He is every aspect of being--to follow him is to follow your heart.

Picked up at Christian Aid Book Sale 2005

Journal Entry 2 by wingkinediwing from Rushyford, County Durham United Kingdom on Monday, August 01, 2005
A very lovely easy read over the weekend. It's all about following your dreams and to be confident in who you are. The story is well told, from three different perspectives and you can understand where each character comes from and how they struggle in their own ways to keep the family together while also trying to pursue their own dreams.

Journal Entry 3 by wingkinediwing from Rushyford, County Durham United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Reserved for esq228 as part of a trade (Jimmy Buffett)

Journal Entry 4 by StinaRy from Long Beach, California USA on Sunday, September 18, 2005
Received as part of a trade. Thanks kinedi! Can't wait to read it. Hope you're enjoying Buffett's.

Journal Entry 5 by StinaRy from Long Beach, California USA on Monday, January 16, 2006
CHANGED TO BOOK RAY!!!!!!!!! Last person on the list can do as they wish with the book. Hopefully its journey will continue.

This was a quick and enjoyable read. I had thought, based on the first few pages, that it would be more whimsical and less serious, but I wasn't disappointed. I found it to be a moving story of a family stuggling to find themselves and dealing with the twists that life can send them. One of the best I've read in a while.

It now will be journeying the world (or at least a part of it) as part of a BOOKRING! And the order is....

Member ... Location/Shipping
1. pammykn ... USA/USA
2. cougmax ... USA/USA
3. taaza ... USA/USA
4. (removed upon request)
5. buffra ... USA/Int'l
6. Heaven-Ali ... UK/Eur.
7. duza-kaluza ... UK/Eur
8. Hellie ... UK/UK
9. TheWhiteLion ... UK/Int'l
10. okyrhoe ... Greece/Int'l
11. Antheras ... Canada/USA
12. istop4books ... USA/Int'l
13. rapturina ... Netherlands/Int'l
14. penelopewanders ... Switzerland/Europe
COMPLETED!



Standard bookring rules apply. Please try to keep it no longer than a month. Journal upon receipt and journal again when sending it on (do not "Release" the book, simply make a new journal entry and set the status to traveling). Ground shipping for international shipments is fine, but please include that information in your entry so the next person in line knows what to expect. If you need to be skipped, but still want to particpate at a later time, please let me know and I will try to accomodate you, based on shipping preferences, etc. If you have any problems or questions, please PM me.

We'll begin as soon as I have the first address. ENJOY.


Journal Entry 6 by pammykn from Decatur, Alabama USA on Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Thanks received today. Looking forward to it!

Journal Entry 7 by cougmax from Seattle, Washington USA on Monday, February 13, 2006
Arrived safe today, looks like its a wonderful read! Will start on it tomorrow.

Journal Entry 8 by cougmax from Seattle, Washington USA on Saturday, February 25, 2006
I just could not get into it. The mythical fantasy stuff is just not my read. The writing was enchanting, it just didn't draw me in. I am going to try to get to pg 60 tonight, so I can say I tried...
will pm taaza now

Journal Entry 9 by cougmax from Seattle, Washington USA on Monday, February 27, 2006
I am so glad I gave this book a second chance. I have enacted the 60 pg rule and it has saved a couple really great reads for me! ;)
Anway when the book transfered to the mother, Sheila's story, I was pulled in and could not put the book down. Her relationship with her sister was so heartbreaking and all to familiar. I loved this book and hope the African Dancer will find me when I need him most too! :)

off to taaza today.

Journal Entry 10 by taaza from Madison, Wisconsin USA on Monday, March 06, 2006
Received today, thanks! Will start on this right away and report back later with my thoughts...

Journal Entry 11 by taaza from Madison, Wisconsin USA on Wednesday, March 08, 2006
I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as I thought I would...like cougmax, it took me around 75 pages or so to "get into" the guts of the story. I would have to say I enjoyed the very beginning and the ending more than the middle - the reminisces into the past kinda dragged for me. The image of the African Dancer and the message to pursue your life dreams was strong, though -- I loved this imagery. This message is what helped the book get a higher than average rating from me. Thanks much for sharing this book esq228!

Will send along to Buffra soon -- waiting for mailing address...

Journal Entry 12 by buffra from Columbus, Ohio USA on Monday, March 20, 2006
Thanks!


Journal Entry 13 by buffra from Columbus, Ohio USA on Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I read it quickly and then somehow didn't send it on right away. (Sometimes I have this strange idea that I will journal books as I go and it's nice to have them available for that...but I digress.) I'm shipping it out today to Heaven-Ali. Airmail since I kept it so very long! (penance, you see)
***

This book was a quick read and I did enjoy it. I especially enjoyed filling in the back story and figuring out why the characters related to each other the way that they did.

I thought at times, though, that it was a bit too...blatant about its message. Instead of letting the reader figure out what the African Dancer symbolized and that we should follow our dreams, Nair flat-out tells the reader that. In some ways, it was reminiscent (to me) of Coehlo's The Alchemist -- and that is not entirely a compliment.

Nevertheless, I did find the story interesting -- as I said, I found the bits about the aunt and uncle and the backstory most intriguing -- and it was a quick, easy read.

A few quotes that stuck with me (all from the aunt, I think):
"What is a dream? Something you long for and then which comes to you in broken pieces that you spend a lifetime trying to fix?....And if everyone went chasing dreams, where would we be?....And if I really open my heart, what happens to the sense of control that keeps me firmly anchored? Will I sail away? And if I do, what happens? More pain, I suppose, and so it is that I am anchored to the present with my sense of control. It is safe and it hurts less."

"I think that this is what happens when you don't do what you truly believe in: life drains and dissipates the spirit so anything becomes acceptable. Fear sets in and you explain away things by saying that is how they were meant to be. Anything else seems an impossibility. Such an impossibility that the mind switches itself off, leaving you to cope with a heart that knows better, and then eventually, over time, the heart's voice gets lost somewhere in the monotony of an everyday routine."

Sad. Very sad.

Journal Entry 14 by Heaven-Ali from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Arrived yesterday, I'll be reading this next.

Journal Entry 15 by Heaven-Ali from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I agree with Buffra. The first part of the book irritated me, there was little if any subtelty, and the messages were too obvious. The aunt and uncles stories were fascinating and sad, and I really enjoyed reading them - which make up the main part of the book - I loved the way it ended.

I finished this a couple of days ago and have pm'd duza-Kaluza for their addy - but haven't heard back yet. I will send the book on as soon as I get it.

edit - duza-kaluza has asked to be skipped so I will be contacting hellie

Released 13 yrs ago (6/16/2006 UTC) at to a bookcrosser in sent by mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Sending it to Hellie today enjoy!!!

Journal Entry 17 by Hellie from South Shields, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Saturday, June 17, 2006
arrived today...couple ahead...will get to it very soon..

thanks for sharing..


update 24.6.06

Finished this quite quickly. it was a bit too fairytalish for me (yes I know thet's not a word but don't you think it should be?!)

That said I loved the idea of The African Dancer...though as someone said above i'd have rather been able to figure out what this symbolism represented, myself, rather than be told.

Some lovely use of words...

Fave quotes:

"What is a dream? Something you long for and then which comes to you in broken pieces that you spend a lifetime trying to fix?....And if everyone went chasing dreams, where would we be?....And if I really open my heart, what happens to the sense of control that keeps me firmly anchored? Will I sail away? And if I do, what happens? More pain, I suppose, and so it is that I am anchored to the present with my sense of control. It is safe and it hurts less."

"I think that this is what happens when you don't do what you truly believe in: life drains and dissipates the spirit so anything becomes acceptable. Fear sets in and you explain away things by saying that is how they were meant to be. Anything else seems an impossibility. Such an impossibility that the mind switches itself off, leaving you to cope with a heart that knows better, and then eventually, over time, the heart's voice gets lost somewhere in the monotony of an everyday routine."

(this one REALLY made me stop and think about certain
thngs in my life recently)

"Follow the African dancer, my child; take your heart in your hands and follow him. As you walk, tread firmly on fear, clear the path and let the African dancer dance; dance his way into reality."

"When all the excuses that have barricaded fear finally tumle down, there is nothing more to do but g forward and go do whatever you have to do, and be whoever you have to be."

"...let go of what people thought and what was going to happen. I just sat there alone and from somewhere amongst the quiet whispers of stillness that comes from forgiving and accepting, I let go."

"I will also tell you another thing about the magic of hopes and dreams; at any point along a journey, the day you decide to take back reponsibility for your actions and put your trusts and faith not in fear but back in yourself, those hopes and dreams will come flooding back and the belief and energy that charges them will take them forward to a place that is home."

"Sometimes in life, even ifit is just once, you have to take a risk, take everything you truly believe in and jump. If your vision is obscured in the loudness of uncertainty, just be still and listen. And when you see the African dancer who has finally managed to escape from somewhere deep inside, follow him, follow him with fearless courage and go to wherever he may want to take you."

"Do you think that what you fear the most is what you attract?"

"What I have learned is that the older one becomes, the more confusing it al appears, so make use of the clarity of youth which is sent with so much energy. Maybe I will also say that whatever happens to you in your life, try not to close your heart...."

"Out of all of this, I have come to realise that when things don't work out the way you want them to, there is something better around the corner. And yes, I still maintain that dreams come true....if you want them to."




Journal Entry 18 by TheWhiteLion from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, July 02, 2006
Received the book yesterday and am looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 19 by TheWhiteLion from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, October 09, 2006
Gypsy Masala tells the story of three related people, their life together and their struggle against their past and each other. The story is told from each person's point of view, and it was interesting to see how the same event is viewed differently by each of the three people.

That said, I think telling the story from different points of view put me off the book slightly - I was curious to hear what was going to happen to Molu when the book suddenly switched to Sheila's story. The same was true for Sheila's story - I was just getting into it when another story was told from Bali's point of view, leaving me wondering about what could have happened.

I liked the use of imagery in the novel - the author is very talented in my opinion.

Although I enjoyed the book, I definitely enjoyed Preethi Nair's second book, One Hundred Shades of White, more. (I just happen to have a bookring going for it, and if you want jo read it, you can read the journal entry here.)

There was one quote which stood out for me in Molu's story:

" 'When you are unsure of what to do, just be still and listen in here,' the Gypsy whispered, tapping against her chest.

Tears rolled down my face.

'And if you are still unable to hear, just breathe.' "

Good advice for all of us, I'd say.

Have pm'ed the next person, and will mail the book as soon as I have their details.

Journal Entry 20 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The book arrived at my P O box today. Thank you esq228 for including me in this ring, and TheWhiteLion for forwarding the book to me!

Journal Entry 21 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I too found that the ‘Evita’ section fails to grab the reader’s interest in the beginning. It wasn’t until I read the ‘Author’s Note’ at the end of the book that I was better able to appreciate the ‘Evita’ section.

Maybe the weakness lies in that this is Preethi Nair’s first novel and that the character of Molu/Evita reflects the writer’s own struggles to listen to the ‘African dancer’ and actualize her transformation.

In contrast, there probably isn’t much autobiographical parallelism with the other two segments, ‘Sheila’ and ‘Bali,’ so in the latter part of the book the author lets the characters speak for themselves. I did enjoy the bittersweet tales of these people’s lives. In the end the thematic threads of the narrative come together very nicely.

When Sheila says "I would like to save you twenty years and tell you what I have learned about hopes and dreams: if you suppress them, you pollute a clean river with fear, regret and disappointment, and that makes it very difficult to swim and find the place which is home," I am reminded of a memorable line from one of Marge Piercy's poems:

"Fantasy unacted sours the brain."

---
The book is on its way to Antheras in Canada.

Journal Entry 22 by Antheras from Kitchener, Ontario Canada on Monday, November 27, 2006
It arrived in Canada today along with a great postcard of the Acropolis. It will be a few weeks before I get a chance to read it.

Journal Entry 23 by istop4books from Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Thursday, April 05, 2007
Arrived today. Just finishing up another bookring book and will get started on this one right away. Looking forward to it!

Journal Entry 24 by istop4books from Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Friday, April 13, 2007
This is one book that I just couldn't sink my teeth into. I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to appreciate it, and for the first third of the book, I really wasn't sure where it was going. I did, however, enjoy the last two parts of the book, the bits narrated by Sheila and Bali. All in all, I found it a bit preachy, and lacking in subtlety.

Will be sending to Rapturina next.

Journal Entry 25 by istop4books from Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Mailed to Rapturina yesterday.

Journal Entry 26 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Sunday, June 17, 2007
It's here! It might have been here for a while, but I was away on holiday and only just got it today. Either way, it's here now, safe and sound. :D I have a few other rings here (they never come alone!), but I should be able to read this fairly quickly. Looking forward to it, it sounds fascinating!

Journal Entry 27 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Sunday, June 24, 2007
Well, this was an interesting read and a lot quicker than I had expected. I always check the number of pages before I start a book and thought this one had 200+ pages, but then the story suddenly ended at page 170-something and I was quite taken by surprise by that. Especially 'cause I felt the story wasn't really over, I think the main characters were all just beginning to realize all their missed chances and it would've been interesting to be able to read about how they were going to fix their lives, so to speak. As it is, the book just seems very sad; there isn't really a happy ending, it's more like a list of all the things that went wrong. The story struck a chord with me though, mostly because I am at a point in my life right now where I will have to make big decisions for the future, and a story in which people reminisce about the bad decisions they made is not really uplifting. :D Having said that, I did really enjoy the writing. Preethi Nair has a style that I really like and I thought was very evocative and insightful. I definitely want to read more of her writing, but hopefully something with more pages and a more satisfying conclusion. :D

Journal Entry 28 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, June 26, 2007
On its way to Penelopewanders in Switzerland as of this morning!

Journal Entry 29 by wingpenelopewanderswing from Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Monday, July 02, 2007
This arrived safely here in the very rainy and cold Swiss alps this July morning, and will perch on my mini-mountain of rings which seem to have all rolled in within the last couple of weeks...I'll double check whether this is a ring or ray, to see how soon I tackle it. Looks fun though, and a good size to slide into a bag going with me very soon to hopefully warmer weather and sunshine! Thanks so much for making this available.

Journal Entry 30 by wingpenelopewanderswing from Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The title of this book is what intrigued me first, but having finished the book I'm not sure what the connection is meant to be. The African Dancer plays the role of what I could have fantasized a Gypsy would have been. I suppose there is a character in the first story who might be a gypsy, but she does not appear in the two other sections of the book. I felt fairly indifferent to the fate of the first narrator, but the other two characters had more substance and their tales were far more moving. I have started reading the excerpt of another book by this author (Beyond Indigo) which is at the end of this one, and so far it seems more promising than this - or at least it appeals to me more...
Having just read through the other journals (I generally only skim them quickly when signing up for a ring or ray so as not to stumble over any spoilers), I see I am in the vast majority of people who preferred Sheila and Bali's sections.
I am also struck by the number of people who cited favorite quotes - it is indeed an emminently quotable book - I too jotted page numbers on the back fly leaf (in pencil, lightly! no shrieking please!)when particular quotes appealed to me.
I will put this back up on the forum, to see if anyone wishes to continue this ray.

RELEASE NOTES:
No responses on the forum to my offer to continue this ray, so I am giving this to a friend who has just joined bookcrossing. She will probably release it in Germany.

Journal Entry 32 by judith13 from Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Sunday, February 03, 2008
This book helped me to find my way into my new reality.

"When all the excuses that have barricaded fear finally tumble down,
there is nothing more to do but go forward and go do
whatever you have to do, and be
whatever you have to be."

Thanks for the chance to read this :-)



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