This is my first read by this author. I love that this novel combined the history of Iran in 1953 without it being complicated and romance. I’m not familiar with the situation in Iran. All I could imagine is that Iran must have been a beautiful country before the religious fanatics took over the country
The Binding – Bridget Collins
How would you wish that your unpleasant memories disappear? If you could bind those memories into a book, would you be willing to? Or would you consider those who have bound their memory into a book a cowards?
Forty Rules Of Love – Elif Shafak
I have been willing to read one of her books for quite sometime. This book, although very easy to read, contains words which, if you’re not familiar with Arabic and the Islam, might cause you to take a look at the footnote. If you read the physical book, it’s easier to go back and forth from the current page to the last pages that contain the explanation. It’s harder to go back and forth if you’re using e-reader to read. Although I’m familiar with the words, I’m not a Muslim and don’t know the difference between: Sufi, Shiite, Sunni, even….dervish. It started with the life of a Jewish family Rubinsteins. Ella and David Rubinstein, their college daughter Jeannette and their teenage twins Orly and Avi. They also had a golden retriever named Spirit and they lived in Northampton, Massachusetts. Ella and David have been married for way too long that Ella didn’t know anymore whether she still loved him or has stopped loving him. “To my dear Ella, A woman with a quiet manner, a generous heart and the patience of a saint. Thanks for being my wife. Yours, David” That’s what he’s written in a card on a valentine’s day. Reading the sentences only made Ella think that it’s supposed to be written after her death. Reading about her life, I could sense that love has seemed to vanish from her life. She filed for divorce in the fall of 2008 for a reason: love. She fell in love with someone whose life was full of adventures; He’s a traveller, a writer and a Sufi. This all started when Ella got accepted as a reviewer at a literary agency in Boston. She got her first assignment right at the moment when she just had an argument with her oldest daughter Jeannette about her marriage plan. She didn’t have the courage to read and give an extensive report on the novel she’s assigned to, but when she read the first few lines, she felt as if the author rewrote her life story. The writer’s name was A. Z. Zahara (Aziz) who lived in the Netherlands (the book says Holland, but Holland is not a country — just one of the author’s lacks of research — to be noticed when she mentioned Indonesia as one of the countries that have seeked for asylum in Netherlands, as if there’s a war in Indonesia. This just made me think that Elif Shafak is a dreamy woman still living in a cave). The title of the book is Sweet Blasphemy. The writer has stated that he had no intention to be an author; He wrote it to show his admiration and love for the great philosopher, mystic and poet Rumi and his beloved Sun, Shams of Tabriz. “For despite some people say, love is not only a sweet feeling bound to come and quickly go away.” This quotation that’s written on the next line made her jaw dropped as she realised that it’s the contradiction…
Tropenbruid – Susan Smit
I know that it sounds cliche to review this in English while the book is only available in Dutch language. Well, I hope it will be available in English soon. The title in English would be Tropical Bride. Anna Prinsenhoek is an orphan who lives in Amsterdam city. She lives at the shelter and she’s tired of following the strict rules. Susan Smit described the life at a shelter as a life full of misery, the girls living there are only good for doing physical works, and Anna is someone who loves to have adventure, not someone who would be willing to serve as maid. Hence, when she sees an advertisement on the newspaper about an officer living in Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) looking for a wife, she applies. She’s amazed that the man, Willem Francken, replies her mail and chooses her. Arrives in Batavia, she’s brought to Weltevreden (Central Jakata/Jakarta Pusat). Anna realises that her life changes. Willem Francken is a cold-hearted officer and Anna thinks that his previous wife is deceased as he has two young daughters, Minah and Lin and they have a governess, Mary, who takes care of them. When Anna talks to Minah and Lin, she finds out that their mother is still alive, but that she’s been banished. And she soon also finds out that her marriage to Willem is only a cover up for his dream job, and love affair. His previous wife was not his wife, but he’s slept with his njai (female servant, status higher than the rest of the servants as she controls the household). For the sake of his status, he banished Sri (the njai) but adopted/made their daughters his legitimate children. Willem banished Sri because she’s a njai, and not Dutch. Willem and Anna don’t sleep in the same bedroom. He only visits her when he wants to have sex with her, and she is not allowed to enter his bedroom if he doesn’t ask her to. She’s really leading a boring life at the moment as she doesn’t have to do anything to get it done. They have cook, maid, male servant, and a gardener, his daughters have their own governess who accompanies them. Although she and the governess can’t get along with each other, she manages to get along with the maid, who they call Baboe (baboe (pronunciation: baboo) is not a name, but literally means maid in Indonesian language). She asked Baboe where the njai lives. At first, Baboe hesitates to tell, but after her explanation, she finally tells her and she visits Sri, the njai, on the next day. Sri lives in a village, when she’s on her way, she gets help by a young man, as old as she is, named Regi. He leads her the way to where Sri lives. Anna promises her to bring her daughters with her the next time she visits her. There’s a moment when Regi and Anna fall in love with each other, but she soon finds…