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Preeta Samarasan "Evening Is the Whole Day" - 3/5

This is the story of the Rajasekharans, an Indian family in Malaysia. It jumps around through time through three generations, though the main focus is on the "present" of the story (set in 1980) and several events that happen all around the same time.

I'm really not sure how much I liked it or not, so I gave it three stars, because that's in the middle, and there were things I liked and things I didn't, and nothing really swayed me to the love or hate side. But I did enjoy it over all, so three stars.

My biggest problem with it was that it was slow. It's only 340 pages, but it felt like it took forever to read, and I always had to force myself to pick it up again. This finally changed about two-thirds of the way through, and I found myself eager to read the last few chapters. But I didn't really enjoy the slog to get there, even while I can see why she included everything that she did up to that point.

I loved the language, though. The rhythms of Malaysian English come through so perfectly I can hear it all in my head. And I liked the story, even liked the way it was told, all the revelations, peeling layers back like an onion. Though I thought some of the reveals were pretty obvious. Like Chellam being innocent and Uncle Ballroom being the better of the two brothers and the guy arrested for murder being framed. I was surprised about Appa's second family, though (though I suppose I should have seen the foreshadowing with Kooky Rooky). I also wished there had been a bit more about Uma. We barely get her POV at all, and she's just this perfect girl who is perfectly perfect at everything from birth and has no personality.

If you need your books to be happy, though, this is not the book for you. Nothing happy happens to anyone ever here.


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