Bitter Sweets

by Roopa Farooki | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 9780330443630 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Midlifecrisis of St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on 1/30/2008
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21 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Midlifecrisis from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Given and recommended by my daughter. I have nearly finished it and so far it's heading for a 9. A bit in the genre of Brick Lane, but I am enjoying it more.

Well I've finished it and it's definitely a 9 - in fact I'll go 10. Copying some of the blurb on the back page, "From Bengal to London and spanning three generations, Bitter Sweets is an unforgettable family story to suit every taste". I will probably give this a go as a ray.

Journal Entry 2 by Midlifecrisis from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Saturday, February 09, 2008
Being posted to book-man-8 this morning. Please see my bookshelf for the running order thereafter.

Journal Entry 3 by book-man-8 from Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I just got the book in the mail. Thanks for the ring and for sending! And that most funny postcard! ;-)))

Journal Entry 4 by book-man-8 from Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Sunday, February 17, 2008
A nice read, at times even quite funny and probably a more common "story" than you might think first. Now and then it was a bit too long.

RELEASE NOTES:

The book is now off to Greece. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 6 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Arrived in my p.o.box today. Thanks Midlifecrisis for including me in the bookray, and book-man-8 for posting it to me!

I just finished reading two books by transplanted Indian writers (Rani Manicka and Shalini Akhil) and I am still eager for some more...

Journal Entry 7 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Sunday, March 23, 2008
I really liked the fresh and in-your-face narrative style in the opening to Roopa Farooki's Bitter Sweets. I also appreciated the witty chapter titles, even though they often gave away the plot's direction.
Halfway through, as the narration switched to the character's present, the novel became formulaic, almost a soap opera. Of course that's because the themes of lying & dissembling & hidden truths are vital elements to the enduring suspense of TV family dramas.
There are moments when Farooki attempts to take the story to another level, with references to theater (Racine's Andromaque, Shakespeare) and philosophical / linguistic concepts (the dual mind involved in self-deception, nature versus nurture) but these ideas are simply alluded to (for the benefit of the reader's futher reflection) rather than investigated thematically within the novel itself.
Another half-delivered element is the voice narrated by Sharif. His first-person segments are insightful, and have thematic potential. I hoped that something would come of that, but his pieces didn't evolve further.
I was eventually disappointed with the All's Well that Ends Well non-confrontational conclusion, because it's never just so in real life.

Journal Entry 8 by pammykn from Decatur, Alabama USA on Sunday, March 30, 2008
Thanks -- looking forward to reading.

Journal Entry 9 by pammykn from Decatur, Alabama USA on Friday, May 02, 2008
Thanks for sharing this book, I really liked it & hope that Farooki will have more books out. I've tried pm'ing & emailing rapturina several times & no response. I'll contact the next on the list. Rapturina was on holiday, is back now & I do have address -- will mail on Monday 05/05/08.

05/01/08
TITLE/AUTHOR: BITTER SWEETS by Roopa Farooki
RATING: 4.5/B+
GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Fiction/2007/354 pgs
SERIES/STAND ALONE: Stand-Alone
TIME/PLACE: India/Pakistan/England / 1950's - 1990's ?
CHARACTERS: Shona Karim/ only daughter of Henna & Ricky-Rashid; Parvez/ her husband
FIRST LINES: Henna was 13 when whe was gleefully married off to the eldest son of one of the best families in Calcutta, & her marriage was achieved by an audacious network of lies as elaborate & brazen as the golden embroidery on her scarlet wedding sari.

COMMENTS: 03/29/08 rec via bookcrossing ring/ray Through the generations from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and England the Karim family has built their life on pretense. When the twin grandsons, Omar and Sharif are in their early 20's a relationship develops between Sharif and a young woman that could be a disaster...unless the elders allow their secrets to be revealed. Really enjoyed this book!

Journal Entry 10 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Thursday, May 15, 2008
It's here! Thank you so much, pammykn, for sending it across the ocean. I am in the middle of another book at the moment, but this one will be right up after that one!

Journal Entry 11 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, May 24, 2008
I finished reading this two days ago and really enjoyed it. It was a bit superficial at times, with the story just moving forward and events being narrated without giving the characters a chance to get adjusted to it. If that makes any sense. :D

Either way, it was a good read and I'm glad I got the chance to read this book!

I have Icila's address and will send the book on as soon as I get the chance to go to the postoffice!

June 14th: Sent at the beginning of June and should be getting there soon!

Journal Entry 12 by wingIcilawing from Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Thursday, June 19, 2008
Arrived safe yesterday with the beautiful stamps. Thanks a lot.

Journal Entry 13 by wingIcilawing from Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Monday, July 21, 2008
Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the story. Sure the end is not like that in the real life but many real lifes tend to be like that. ;)

Where is the list ?

Journal Entry 14 by Midlifecrisis from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Monday, July 21, 2008
Icila just pointed out the running order is not shown here (it is actually on my profile). So, the running order from here onwards is:

Hippolein - Finland
bookguide - Netherlands
OpheliaPhillips - UK
brunton11 - UK
Tregossip - UK
cross-patch - UK
Kerriou - UK

Sorry for any confusion

Journal Entry 15 by wingIcilawing from Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Saturday, July 26, 2008
On its way to Finland.

Journal Entry 16 by winghippoleinwing from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Thursday, July 31, 2008
Book arrived safely in Helsinki today.
Thanks a lot Icila for sending and Midlifecrisis for organizing the ray!
Shouldn't take a lot of time to get it read, only a few books before this one ;-)

Journal Entry 17 by Teddyke from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, August 15, 2008
Really enjoyed this (got together with my husband Hippolein), found it partly uplifting and funny, like the style of narration etc...

Journal Entry 18 by winghippoleinwing from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, August 15, 2008
Wonderful story going through three generations, with all the aspects of life you could expect but always hope they wouldn't be coming your way. A web of lies and deception, with all the consequences you would fear that they would cause, end in a very nice book with wonderful persons and situations, and a final finish in a real bang! A book that many should read!

Journal Entry 19 by winghippoleinwing at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Friday, August 15, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (8/15/2008 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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This book continues its travels, going to the Netherlands next.
Enjoy the book and hope you still have some peaceful, warm days ahead!

Journal Entry 20 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Today I found two packages in my post box - I felt just like a child on Christmas Eve ;-D And this is my first international ring. None of my books so far has been so well-travelled! I'm afraid I have a pile of ringbooks TBR at the moment, so the ring will stay with me for a while. I'll do my best to read it as soon as I can and send it on its way.

Edit: Started to read 13/09/08.

Journal Entry 21 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Thursday, September 18, 2008
I enjoyed this book a lot, and it only took me 3 days to read it, so it was also a quick read. As mentioned on the cover, it is indeed thought-provoking. What are the consequences of long-term lying, and would everyone be happier in the long-run if difficult truths were revealed and confronted? Should you keep someone else's secret or tell those affected by it? And are those you're protecting from the truth really not aware of what is really happening?

Another light is thrown on this story when you hear about the real-life story of the author - click on the link "real life" in okyrhoe's JE (journal entry 7). There is an unexpected twist in the tail, but I was somewhat surprised at the ending. I just can't see it happening without major recriminations, although everyone seems to have been left at a point where they could accept what had happened and move forward positively. In my experience this involves far more discussion, anger and lasting resentment, although the passage of time softens the blow.

I also enjoyed the Asian slant on the story, but it would have been useful to have a short glossary of the Indian relationships and pet names (jaan, Nana, Amma, etc). And intriguing to see how different ethnic groups and nationalities have prejudices and stereotypes the whole world over.

Some of the passages were really beautifully written. I liked this:
"Our parents' new unhappiness polluted the very air we breathed. We began to look nostalgically at old photos, with smiling faces and turned-up eyes, and wondered how we had managed to live through and yet simply miss the time they had been happy. Before the cold war that followed with our adolescence, we had been embarrassed by their outrageous, demonstrative affection. Had someone told us what would happen, wouldn't we have savoured every moment, every loving word, every unthinking embrace in between?" p.117

Journal Entry 22 by bookguide at York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, October 10, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (10/11/2008 UTC) at York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom

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Sent by post to OpheliaPhilips.

Journal Entry 23 by Midlifecrisis from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Sunday, November 09, 2008
Sadly this book seems to have gone missing in action. Although bookguide has posted it to OpheliaPhillips, she never received it. Who knows, perhaps it may surface again one day. Thanks to one and all who shared this one with me.

Journal Entry 24 by Apechild from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Our missing in action note was a little bit premature it seems as this book landed in my letterbox today! So the ring goes on...

Journal Entry 25 by Midlifecrisis from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Yayyyy... well done everyone - sorry I wrongly assumed it had gone missing.

Journal Entry 26 by Apechild from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, November 16, 2008
To be honest I was disappointed by this book. In itself it wasn´t that bad a book. I mean, I read it in a few days and I think it makes fantastic light holiday family saga reading. It´s just that I had been expecting a lot more from it. I´d heard reviews ages ago that this book was fantastic, and had (in my head) set it with a lot of other books from Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani writers - especially those with themes of families relocating to the west and struggling with the clashing cultures - and it´s just not that. It´s a family saga with lots of dilemmas and dramas. At times it did verge on well-written Mills and Boon style romantic melodrama, and parts of the story did seem to go on longer than really necessary. I wasn´t so crazy about the way it ended, with a few more "shocking" secrets being revealed so that every thread could finish neatly and they all lived happily ever after.

So really, in a nutshell, I think a lot of my disappointment stems from the fact that I was expecting a completely different kind of book.

I already have the next address so I will get this in the post tomorrow.

Journal Entry 27 by wingbrunton11wing from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Arrived today. Should be able to get to it soon as reading the only bookring book I have at the moment.

Journal Entry 28 by wingbrunton11wing from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Friday, November 28, 2008
I liked the style and plot of this one and found it easy to read. I would certainly try anything else Farooki has to offer. Thanks midlifecrisis for the chance to try a new author.

I have an address for Tregossip so will get this book to the post office tomorrow.

Journal Entry 29 by Tregossip from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Arrived this lunch time and thanks one and all.
Currently finishing an Erica James, got a good few "donated to bookcross" books on TBR mountain, but nothing that grabs me in this pile so delighted to get this one

1/2 way through and a delightful read, so far a 9.
I love the clever but subtle change in writing styles between characters and generations.

Some of the first pages are loose, I'll leave them untouched as not too adept with the sellotape

Worth having an early night to pick it up again. Have PM'd cross-patch for addy

Thanks one and all and a Happy Christmas


Journal Entry 30 by Tregossip at St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Saturday, December 13, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (12/15/2008 UTC) at St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom

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on it's travels again

Journal Entry 31 by wingCross-patchwing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Friday, December 26, 2008
Safely arrived. Thanks to Midlifecrisis and Tregossip. Thank you too for the Christmas wishes and the wonderful Kerala post card. I've always wanted to go there!

Journal Entry 32 by wingCross-patchwing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, January 18, 2009
I found this a chaming easy read. Yes, there were places I thought the relationships were M and B, but there were also plenty of lines I re-read for their charm and poignancy. Rashid and Omar were very interesting portrayals and I would willingly follow their lives further, Thank you, Midlifecrisis for sharing Bitter Sweets.
I am just waiting to hear from Kerriou before I post this on.

Journal Entry 33 by Kerriou from Swansea, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Arrived safely this morning and I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you, Cross-patch.

Journal Entry 34 by Kerriou from Swansea, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 03, 2009
A quick and very enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing, Midlifecrisis.

Journal Entry 35 by Kerriou at Swansea, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, February 20, 2009

Released 11 yrs ago (2/20/2009 UTC) at Swansea, Wales United Kingdom

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Keeping this book moving. Sent to lellie this morning. Enjoy.

Journal Entry 36 by winglelliewing from Trimley St Mary, Suffolk United Kingdom on Saturday, February 21, 2009
This one's been around the block a few times!

Thanks Kerriou, I look forward to reading it and moving it on.

Journal Entry 37 by winglelliewing from Trimley St Mary, Suffolk United Kingdom on Friday, February 05, 2010
There are a few books around right now in this vein. I think that I have enjoyed some others a bit more, but this was an engaging read.
May offer it as a ray. I think it deserves to travel on.

Journal Entry 38 by winglelliewing from Trimley St Mary, Suffolk United Kingdom on Friday, February 19, 2010
Traveling on as a bookray.

1.Kobie03 - Canada
2.daniellechonody - US
3.kizmiaz - Portugal
4.LiniP - Germany
5.gwenindil

Journal Entry 39 by winglelliewing at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, February 20, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (2/20/2010 UTC) at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

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Enjoy

Journal Entry 40 by kobie03 from Lewins Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada on Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Book arrived with a pretty card with a recipe for Cranberry Preserves [I'll have to try these]. It arrived last week while I was away welcoming a new Grandson so I'm a bit late with my JE. I'll read it this week and send it on. Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 41 by kobie03 from Lewins Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Easy entertaining read. As I finished it I thought of the phrase " Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." that was well described in this story. Thanks for sharing. i have the address and will have this in the mail tomorrow.

Journal Entry 42 by kobie03 at Lewins Cove, Newfoundland -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (4/13/2010 UTC) at Lewins Cove, Newfoundland -- Controlled Releases

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My apologies,I didn't get this book in the mail as I had planned a couple of weeks ago. now I have mailed it to daniellechonody.

Journal Entry 43 by daniellechonody from Dallas, Texas USA on Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Been on vacation in Australia to visit family for 2 weeks - and found Bitter Sweets waiting for me when we arrived home yesterday! Look forward to diving into it next week

Journal Entry 44 by daniellechonody at Dallas, Texas USA on Wednesday, June 02, 2010
I really enjoyed this book! When it arrived I couldn't remember signing up for it but it was a great read. Great perspective about how a families decisions affect younger generations!

Journal Entry 45 by kizmiaz at Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Monday, July 05, 2010
Just got it, thanks.
This book has done quite a lot of travelling. I'll get to it as soon as I finnish my current one.

Journal Entry 46 by kizmiaz at Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Thursday, August 26, 2010
Sorry I'm taking so long, real life is a bit ectic right now. I'll try and read it soon

Journal Entry 47 by Nin-guem at Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Sunday, August 29, 2010
Kizmiaz passed me the book, because I was curious about it. The book has a very interesting (non-linear) narrative structure and different narrators; thus it's fun to read. The story is also very interesting - both the plot and the cultural background - and it's definitely a page-turner. The happy ending is a bit too «pink», but the author manages not to turn it into a complete bore. I enjoyed a lot reading Bitter Sweets. I'm sending it to the next reader...

Journal Entry 48 by LiniP at Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Monday, September 06, 2010
Got the book in the mail last week. I am already halfway through and am really enjoying the book. Will send it off as quickly as possible to the next in line.

Journal Entry 49 by LiniP at Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Sunday, September 12, 2010
I have finished reading the book and enjoyed it. It is off to the next reader this week.

Journal Entry 50 by LiniP at Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (9/14/2010 UTC) at Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Württemberg Germany

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On its way to Portugal. Enjoy reading the book.

Journal Entry 51 by Gwenindil at Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Thursday, September 16, 2010
Arrived!!!
Thanks to all...

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