Monday, February 7, 2011

#BookReview: The Many Conditions of Love - Farahad Zama

The author of The Marriage Bureau for Rich People is back with, what I would consider, a little less funny but certainly as well thought out sequel.  Unlike some other authors, Farahad Zama does not spend a lot of time refreshing reader's memories about what happened in his previous book.  Nonetheless, it's quite easy to bring yourself up to speed or trudge forth without knowing a great deal of the character's history.

The Many Conditions of Love, unlike The Marriage Bureau, focuses less on Mr. Ali and his customers and more on Aruna and Ram.  Aruna's marriage to the handsome doctor she met when he walked into the marriage bureau has been an adjustment, but she's adapted well.  That is, until her sister-in-law  shows up.  Aruna finds herself being mistreated by, not only her in-laws, but her husband as well.

Readers will also be delighted to find that more attention is given to the Ali's son, Rehman.  In the first book, he was a fringe character and was only briefly touched upon as it related to political unrest in India.  This go round there is more focus on his love life.  Only, it is unfortunate for him, as a Muslim, that he's fallen in love with Usha, a Hindu journalist.

Keeping in line with The Marriage Bureau, attention is still paid to societal issues and the struggle of the older generation to keep pace with the ever changing, modernized world.  As with The Marriage Bureau, the limitations of ones caste and socioeconomic status are again brought to the forefront in The Many Conditions.  Overall this is a delightful and insightful read.

What did you like about this book?
I loved getting reacquainted with the characters and being introduced to new ones.  The author could have potentially limited the series by focusing on existing characters.  I'm appreciative of these new characters, not only because they truly serve a purpose and not just there as fillers or fringe characters, because their story lines give the author the option to continue the series for much longer than he may have been able to had the focus just stayed on his initial characters.

What didn't you like about this book?
It ended far too soon.  Readers are left with a cliffhanger.  Normally this would not frustrate me, but because the books are published outside of the states, it takes longer for them to become available in this market.

What could the author do to improve this book?
The humor from the first book seemed to be missing.  Although I still enjoyed the book, it was something I looking forward to and it was quite noticeable that it wasn't there.

Published 2009

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