Betty J Taylor
A powerful quote from it:
“Everywhere she went, it seemed, it was open season on women. Rape, female genital mutilation, bride burnings, domestic abuse – everywhere, in every country, women were abused, isolated, silenced, imprisoned, controlled, punished, and killed. Sometimes, it seemed to Smita that the history of the world was written in female blood.”
Smita, a young American Indian journalist, returns to India to cover a story about the murder and attempted murder of a couple in a village in a rural part of India. Abdul, a Muslim, and Meena, a Hindu, dared to fall in love and marry. Meena’s family has been dishonored and must pay. Her brothers kill Abdul and try to kill Meena. But Meena and their daughter survive.
Smita is plagued with the memories of the night her family fled India with no intention to ever return. While she has very negative views of India, her driver Mohan gracefully listens to her and expresses his love for and pride in his home country. Together, they confront the brutality against Abdul and Meena and the corrupt leadership that allows it to happen. Smita and Mohan both will have their views of India challenged.
This is a story of love, hope, cultural and religious clashes, sacrifice, and promises kept. The bravery of Meena, the callousness of Ammi (Meena’s mother-in-law) and the kind heart of Mohan will linger with me for some time.
I highly recommend this phenomenal book.
Millicent G. (Cypress, TX)
We are surrounded by invisible walls in our lives…walls of religion, gender, skin color, politics, class, money, education, age, appearance, shame, expectations, nationality, illness, misinformation . These walls are also ancient and modern, intact and crumbling, high and low.
This book powerfully explores so many themes but the one that resonated most powerfully with me is that of the Invisible Walls surrounding all of us. What do we do with them when they become visible?
This book will be read and discussed by books clubs everywhere because there is so much in it that will move readers … some just emotionally but some to action.
Pat S. (Sarasota, FL)
Too Pure of Heart
Two Indians, one Muslim and one Hindu, who were uneducated and living in poverty, loved each other. They could not comprehend the level of hatred thrown at them. This level of hatred still exists in today’s world when people do not follow perceived expectations. Dark, humbling, joyous, acts of violence, acts of love – all are on display in this moving novel.
Ilyse F. (Freehold, NJ)
The Many Types of Honor
Honor is an apt name for a novel that explores all the ways that we can be honorable and all the ways that people commit atrocities and betrayals in the name of honor. The book has a dual story line. One is the family history of Smita, an Indian journalist who returns to India after many years away. The other is of Meena, a Hindu woman who has been hideously scarred in a fire that took the life of her husband. The fire was set by her brothers in protest of the fact that their sister married a Musim. Meena has now taken the brothers to court to be held responsible for their actions and to protect her and her infant daughter. The two women are brought together by Smita reporting on the trial. This is not a light read. It is really eye opening and educational about honor killings and the rights of women in India. I would highly recommend it.
Marianne L. (Syosset, NY)
Honor, the title of Thrity Umrigar’s latest novel, serves as a cutting edge amid the twisting, perilous circumstances of two women in India. This is another well developed, thought provoking read. Like her other titles, her characters touch readers’ hearts, provoking emotions of love, anger, and compassion. Cultural demands figure strongly in this drama, challenging the characters to examine fundamental meanings of womanhood, selfhood and freedom. This is a book that shines a bright light upon a dark reality we all need to know about. It is a book you will find it hard to put down. Don’t miss this one!
Julie M. (Stacy, MN)
Umigar Does it Again
I forget what a great story teller Thrity Umigar is until I read her next book. She does not disappoint with Honor! This is a story of two women brought together by a tragedy. One living in present day India (Meena) and one who left as a young girl and returns as a journalist covering the crime (Smita). The compare and contrast of these two women is beautifully done and the memories of old India give way to hope for a new India.
Thrity Umrigar once again brings India alive on the page so that even those who have never been, feel as though they are at the center of all the sights and sounds of this country of contradictions. Her stories never fail to evoke deep emotion, and Honor is no exception. It is a heart wrenching account of two women whose lives are connected by brutality, grief, and loss, and their ultimate triumph over hate, each in their own different way. This is one book that I will remember for a very long time.
Susan T. (Bahama, NC)
I really enjoyed this book while it saddened me at the same time. An American Indian journalist reluctantly returns to the country she and her family fled when she was a young teenager to cover a story of another young woman who is being persecuted because of who she fell in love with and married. The book is very well written and engaging. The two main themes of the book are women’s rights and persecution because of religious differences. The author alternates between the viewpoint of Meena and Smita giving you insight into how both women have suffered and still suffer because of the rules and laws that still dictate the lives of women in this country (and many others) unfairly today.