Friday 11 September 2015

Finding Arun by Marisha Pink

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought: Aaron has grown up in Britain, the adopted child of two white parents. He has always known that his biological mother was an Indian woman from the clinic where his adoptive mother was working as a doctor. But it is only when his adoptive mother dies, and he finds evidence in her papers that his biological mother might still be alive, that he decides to travel to India to explore his unknown roots.

The clues he finds lead him to Puri, a coastal city in Eastern India, home of Ratha Yatra, or the Festival of Chariots, when statues of the gods Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are paraded annually on vast chariots (which, incidentally, is where we derive the word ‘juggernaut’).

What Aaron uncovers there is both wonderful and disturbing and will change his life forever, enabling his to reclaim his birth name: Arun.

The story of Finding Arun began, for author Marisha Pink, when she gave up corporate life in London to backpack to southeast Asia. Two years later, she raised the money to self-publish her book on Kickstarter, making her a true indie pioneer.

The novel blends a sweet tale of self-discovery and sibling love with the unfolding of a dark family secret, all set against the background of one of India’s most holy cities.

It is a pleasure, too, to be taken inside ordinary village life – one that is neither of extreme poverty nor extreme wealth, but which is nevertheless precarious.

The story is gently paced and the conflicts more like ocean swells than tsunamis. But if you like a family story in a setting that is more than just a casual backdrop, then this could be one for you.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Liked: The Death of Shiva by Manil Suri, Finding Takri by Palo Stickland, No More Mulberries by Mary Smith

Avoid If You Dislike: Gentle family dramas, exploring new countries/cultures

Perfect Accompaniment: Mixed vegetable curry with dahl, roti and chutney

Genre: Literary Fiction

Available on Amazon

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