Partitions- Amit Majmudar 2012


I read this book as part of a book club, but unfortunately I never made it to the book club meeting. I was looking forward to reading it- it fit in quite nicely with my current interest in learning about religions, cultures, and the effects of those of individual peoples' lives. 

It is set in 1947, as Pakistan is created. What resulted was violence, prejudice, and a lot of displacement and upheaval. Religions clashed, pitting neighbour against neighbour, separating families, and causing untold harm.
This is a period in time that I know nothing at all about, so I was eager to learn about the time and setting. 

Majmudar uses a supernatural device to tell the story: our narrator is a ghost. I could have done without this element, and would have been happier with a deceased narrator looking back. It distanced me somewhat from the story- just as i was getting into a human storyline, I was reminded of the ethereal narrator and his ability to swoop to different locations, and I would lose my connection to the story. 

There are plenty of cultural details in the book, but I felt that they sometimes weren't explored deeply enough to satisfy a heathen like me. I found myself thinking "I'll have to google that later", or putting down the book to look up words or cultures which I just wanted to know a little bit more about. 

It is a compelling, human story, and the characters seem real and individual. Towards the end, though, I found the "partition" devices and imagery became a little obvious, and the story became too contrived to seem true. I was left a little disappointed that it wasn't more realistic and earthly.In the end, it becomes clear that neither religion nor class should divide people, and that above all, through horrendous violence and hatred, love and goodness will win out, even in a ragtag, umconventional way.  I think the moral of the story is a worthy, humanist one, but it is pushed too much to the fore, when we should be able to work it out for ourselves. 

This book did, however, open my eyes to an important bit of history that I had no idea about. I'm left wanted to learn more about that time. 

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