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A superb second novel from the author of the multiple-award winning Saraswati Park.
Paris, London, and Bombay: three cities form a backdrop to a journey through Leela's twenties at the dawn of the new millennium, as she learns to negotiate the world, work, relationships and sex, and find some measure of authenticity.
Sharp, funny, and melancholic, Another Country brings a cool eye to friendship, love, and the idea of belonging in its movements through old and new worlds.
As with her debut, Saraswati Park (2010), which won the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Betty Trask Prize, Anjali Joseph's beautiful, clear writing captures exactly both emotions and surroundings.
Having enjoyed reading Anjali Josephs debut novel Saraswati Park I have been waiting with anticipation her next novel. Another Country did not disappoint. Written through the eyes of Leela the story begins when Leela is in her early twenties living in Paris. In a detached manner we experience her relationships with those around her before she returns to England and then on to India. Her life is played out in such a detached manner that you feel that life and Leela co-exist and that she is not so much living her life but going through the motions almost as though life is happening to her but she does all she can to ensure that she retains a level of removal from her very existence.
This book is very well written and Joseph has managed to capture and convey what Leela's life and experiences are with remarkable insight. I found myself at the end of the book desperate to be able to discuss it with someone and find out their understanding of Leela and where she had ended up.
I had expected this book to be more one about culture but it is about so much more than that and culture is a mere backdrop to Leela's experiences in her relationships with friends, colleagues, family and lovers and in her everyday life.
This is a book that leaves you thinking and also one that leaves you with an immense amount of admiration for Joseph's abilities as a writer. So much thought has gone into every sentence that not a word in this novel feels wasted.
If you want a book for your next book club pick this! It is crying out to be read and then analysed in depth. This is definitely one of my best books to read this year.
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