Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book Review: If Today Be Sweet

Tehmina, a Parsi woman from India comes to Ohio following her husband's death and upon an invitation from her son to move in with his family. During her stay (not her first in the US) in a suburb of Cleveland, Tehmina is both happy to be with her family and pained at her separation from her home and late husband. Tehmina has a short time to decide whether she wants to stay with her son's family permanently or return to her apartment in India. 

I enjoyed Umrigar's window into Indian culture (here and in Bombay Times). Cross culturally I liked reading Tehmina's comparisons of what she was familiar with in Bombay compared to American customs. Umrigar did a particularly good job developing Tehmina and her son, Sorab's, characters. Both had a good deal of insight into their behavior. Umrigar let them have natural reactions to other characters or developments but gave them a good deal of empathy as well. Sorab's wife, Susan, was less well developed but overall a likeable character. I would've liked to have gone more in her mind, but I appreciate Umrigar's choice not to do this, giving Susan more of an outsider presence.
Spoilers ahead:

It seemed that, for Tehmina, whatever life threw at her during If Today she got through it. Not only that, from the halfway point I had to increasingly suspend belief by how everything worked out so well and smoothly. But the characters felt real. And frankly, it feels good to read a heartwarming (in an 'all's well that ends well') book like that every once in a while.

No comments: