As Sweet As Honey

Sweet News

Right now, the snow is whirling like a dust storm in a frenzy of wind.  Once again, Cape Cod has weather. Friday night, Stephen Russell of Wellfleet Market Place, which features an uncommonly fine collection of books on its shelves, hosted a reading and launch for As Sweet as Honey.  In an evening full of warmth, in a room filled with friends, and local writers and readers, after Stephen’s moving introduction, I read from the book, and chatted with writer Kathy Shorr on stage about Salman Rushdie’s genius articulation of  imaginary homelands.

Honey

Honey (Photo credit: quisnovus)

I signed some books, and continued the evening doing what I love, talking about books.

How often in our electronic worlds do we not simply talk about the books we are reading and have read.

The next evening, I attended a reception to welcome the new director of The Fine Arts Work Center, who takes the helm of a program devoted to giving time and space to emerging writers and artists.  Seven months to dream and work, year after year since 1968.

I completed my first book there, and began the second.  Would that I could make some headway into the fourth.

This is an article written by Sarah Shemkus for the Cape Cod Times.  Over tea, we spoke about writing.  Hope you enjoy!

Author chooses Provincetown for her literary retreat | CapeCodOnline.com.

One More Month to Go!

cover.aspx

Ganesan, Indira As Sweet As Honey (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)
Cover by Chris Silas Neal

Our Aunt Meterling stood over six feet tall, a giantess, a tree. From her limbs came large hands, which always held a shower of snacks for us children. We could place two of our feet in one of her sandals, and her green shawl made a roof to cover our play forts. We loved Meterling, because she was so devotedly freakish, because she rained everyone with affection, and because we felt that anyone that tall had to be supernaturally gifted….

Dear Friends,

In one month, my novel, As Sweet As Honey, will be available in the bookstores and on-line. If by any chance you want to reserve a copy by pre-ordering the book, you can go to the link below at Random House and choose from any of the bookstores (independent and commercial) listed. I am very excited about this book, my third in a sequence of novels that share a South Asian island setting, the imaginary island of Pi. As Sweet As Honey is about a very tall woman named who marries a very short man. The novel follows her life, as seen through the very curious and often very imaginative eyes of her young niece, within a family that cossets grief and ladles joy in generous amounts. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

As always,

Indira

From the Cover Flap:

…And there is a very tall South Asian heroine with the astonishing un-Indian name of Meterling, who has found love at last in the shape of a short, round Englishman elegant in white suits and pink ties. There are also numerous aunts, uncles and young cousins—among them Mina, grown now, and telling this story of a marriage ceremony that ends with a widowed bride who, in the midst of her grief, discovers she is pregnant.

From the Kirkus (Starred) Book Review:

The imaginary Indian coastal island of Pi, where Ganesan has set her previous fiction (Inheritance, 1998, etc.), works beautifully as the setting for this East Asian homage to To the Lighthouse, both the nostalgic recreation of a lost perfect moment and an exploration into Woolf’s “thousand shapes” of love.

To pre-order the book:

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/219620/as-sweet-as-honey-by-indira-ganesan

To “Like” the book on Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/As-Sweet-Honey-Indira-Ganesan/dp/0307960447/

Books, Cheer, New Year

Indira Ganesan, streak of sunlight, 2013

Indira Ganesan, streak of sunlight, 2013

Dancing with joy at this lovely starred Kirkus review for As Sweet As Honey:

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/indira-ganesan/sweet-as-honey/ (review text below)

Reading The Marriage Plot; When I Was Cool; Lake People; & Tree Barking!  But, oh, I saw the “Downton Abbey” season three premiere  yesterday, & down the slippery BBC slope I go!  Those gorgeous clothes, actors, moments!

Ah, Welcome January!

From Kirkus Book Reviews:

  • Online Publish Date: January 6, 2013
    Publisher:Knopf
    Pages: 288
    Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95
    Publication Date: February 15, 2013
    ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-307-96044-3
    Category: Fiction

The imaginary Indian coastal island of Pi, where Ganesan has set her previous fiction (Inheritance, 1998, etc.), works beautifully as the setting for this East Asian homage to To the Lighthouse, both the nostalgic recreation of a lost perfect moment and an exploration into Woolf’s “thousand shapes” of love.

The novel opens with a wedding and a death almost in the same breath. After a brief but romantic courtship, 6-foot, 28-year-old Meterling (thoroughly East Asian despite her eccentric German name) receives permission from her Hindu family to marry Archer, a dapper 4 foot-7-inch Englishman in his 40s. During their first wedding dance, he suffers a fatal coronary. Meterling is naturally heartbroken; she is also pregnant. The narrator of the aftermath, Meterling’s much younger cousin Mina, lives with a passel of cousins, aunts and uncles in her grandmother’s household of joyous pandemonium, which is not unlike the genteel chaos of Woolf’s Ramsays; coincidentally, Mina’s is a family of well-read Anglophiles, not unaware that Pi is a little like Prospero’s enchanted island. Looking back from her own adulthood, Mina describes growing up in an innocent but not unsophisticated world in which people really do take care of each other and where what is meant to be happens. So her family accepts the scandalous fact that Meterling had sex before marriage and adores the resulting baby, Oscar. But Western influence is unavoidable. Mina lives with her grandmother since her parents are getting Ph.D.s at Princeton, and eventually, she ends up in America. Yet Mina still manages to tell the story of Meterling’s unexpected second romance and marriage to Archer’s cousin Simon, with whom she moves to England. The novel is masterful at exploring the difficulty of cultural identity and integration. There’s also a bit of magical realism in the shape of a ghost. But ultimately, this is a novel about the many permutations of both love and family.

Despite some slightly strained plot twists, the characters’ genuine charm and the girlish, witty energy of the storytelling are irresistible.

 

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