Without a doubt, this novel is a permanent contender in my top 5 favourite read stories of the past few years. Where to even begin? Well, you can read the blurb to discover the plot, so I shall refrain from repeating it. I picked this book up purely on a boredom impulse one day when I was on a business trip, and I am so glad I did! This story is perhaps one of the best examples, since Arundhati Roy’s ‘God of Small Things’, of the complex Anglo-Indian relationship, post-independence. Whilst it doesn’t rub it in your face and whack you over the head with a stick, the story does get you thinking about the effect of colonialism, and the aftermath that it brings. Ideals are presented, and turned on their head once reality kicks in, and Deborah Moggach does this in a very stark fashion, without coming off a preachy.
The mix of characters, whilst completely over the top, are a refreshing bunch of fun, quirky, old-school (some being inherently racist/ignorant), Raj-yearning individuals. The reader to form a definite and firm opinion of each character due to Moggach’s expert character presentation and the changing shift in language and style used when writing from each perspective.
Now, the style of the novel is very “British” in regards to some of the things that happens to the characters and how they react, or in fact, how the reader acts when “witnessing” these calamities. It’s not quite as “British” as Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (many readers this side of the pond did not like this novel), but it is definitely not what you might be used to. To say this isn’t your conventional story would be an understatement; Moggach makes you laugh in the wrong places, gasp in shock and then smile, and completely refreshes your pallet for future stories.
You can buy this relatively short story, that is bound to leave a lasting impression, here:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: A Novel (Random House Movie Tie-In Books)