The Storyteller's Secretby Published 01 Sep 2018
|The Storyteller's Secret.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream.
Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.
Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.
"The Storyteller's Secret" Reviews
Absolutely awesome book. I started reading and did not stop until the very last page. Great story, beautifully told. The culture, the setting, the pace, and the emotions were perfectly on target. 5+ Stars for me.
This one came up as an August Prime First Reads. I recognized the author, I loved her first book, Trail of Broken Wings so I jumped on it immediately. Read it over just a couple days and loved this one too. A story of 3 women, grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, all facing different obstacles. It drew me in and I could hardly put it down.
Rarely do we ever know the stories of our parents lives and understand what events made them who they became. And we almost never learn much about the lives of our grandparents. Jaya, the main character in this novel, has the good fortune to learn the crucial stories of both her mother and grandmother. This is an emotionally powerful novel and will touch people's hearts.
I did find the action to be very predictable. I guessed a key event long before it happened.
About a third of the way through the novel, I made the mistake of reading a few of the reviews. One mentioned how the physical details of India were inaccurate. Having never been there, I could not judge for myself, but the review colored my reading of the book. I began to question if the author had ever been there.
Even if the details are not accurate, the emotional power of the story makes it worth reading. If you enjoy love stories, you will enjoy this book.
This was my choice for this month's free Amazon prime book and I was very disappointed. If you know nothing about India or Indian culture and you don't mind a very predictable book with few twists or turns, then I'm sure it's an acceptable novel. If you do know even the basics about India then you'll soon spot it's a bit of a mess.
Jaya lives in America and decides to take a trip to India after suffering her third miscarriage and the breakdown of her marriage. She's responding to a letter her mother received from Jaya's grandfather asking her to return to India and learn something about his wife. If Jaya's mother won't go - and she clearly won't - then Jaya figures a bit of India might be just what she needs. By the time Jaya arrives, her grandfather has gone and she's left with her grandmother's friend and servant, Ravi, to tell her about the past.
Nothing about this book rings true. My irritation started with Jaya arriving at an airport whose description is completely unrealistic. You don't find beggars INSIDE an Indian airport (it's not a railway station) and they don't call an NRI woman 'memsahib'. She takes a 'rickshaw' for 45 minutes - even assuming she means an autorickshaw or tuk tuk, most airports don't allow them to pick up. She looks out of the 'open window' - despite autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws having no windows. She comments about scarves that would cost hundreds of dollars in the USA costing '5 rupees'. It's all just fantasy. I can't help but wonder if she has even been to India.
That's all just in the first few chapters. The errors in the grandmother's story are even more extreme. Her grandmother is supposed to be a simple girl who only had a few years of schooling in Hindi but she speaks English with a bizarre eloquence despite not being able to write or read a word of the language. She invites an untouchable into her in-laws' house and nobody makes a particularly big deal about it. She spends hours alone and unchaperoned with a British soldier and again, nobody makes a big deal about it. The whole thing is fine if you don't care that it's totally unfeasible.
Did I mention it's also completely predictable? Maybe I did.
I read a LOT of books by Indian writers and books set in India and this is third-rate. Sorry - I've read reviews that people loved it, but I didn't. I really didn't.
I think I must have read a different book to everyone else, looking at the ratings and reviews. I was really looking forward to it - I've read lots about India and thought it sounded like an interesting premise. The problem was it was SO predictable - I even wrote the synopsis after I'd read about 15% of the book and gave it to my husband - and I was spot on.
That wasn't the real problem - the problem with the novel is that it just couldn't have happened and it was SO inconsistent. At one point Jaya talks about going to the village to find an internet cafe to send her blog and only a couple of chapters later she's sitting on her bed and 'presses send' to upload the latest installment. There were loads of these sorts of examples.
How could a simple, ill educated girl from a small village have enough English to have a relationship with a soldier from the British Army (don't even get me started on how utterly ridiculous the two of them spending hours alone in a school is), and yet she can't write one word of it. He is able to read her poems (in Hindi)?
And then there is the 'untouchable' essentially being left to run the household of a very well respected businessman - without his wife having any male relatives of his to protect her and his children during a time of civil unrest in a volatile country.
The whole book irritated me beyond belief - I really don't understand why everyone else loved it so much! If you can totally suspend your disbelief about the period of history in which it was written, the shoehorning of the feminist message into a character from the 1920s and the dialogue which just didn't ring true (a British public school educated officer talking about his 'mates' and his 'mum' for example), then I'm sure you'll love it.