The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Print

Dates Read: 2/29/20-3/4/20

How I Found It: Book of the Month

This book marks off the “A Book Written by an Author From Asia, Africa, or South America” badge on the 40 Book Reading Challenge from Once Upon a Book Club

For over a year, I have had this book in my to-read pile but never really saw it as something to pick up and read. Looking for a longer book to listen to, I selected this one on a whim, and was surprised that I really wanted to know what happens between listens, which goes to show kids, get outside your comfort zone every once in a while.

Shalini is trying to deal with the death of her mother and decides to go and find the man who was friends with her mom when she was younger. By the way, I don’t think I could have used the word “her” any more times in that sentence. Anyway, she travels to a warzoned part of India to find this guy, and she ends up finding and staying with his family. I mean, a lot more happens and we learn a lot about what it was like in these parts of India between the army and the militants, plus how men were snatched and forced to join the army, so there is a lot of background and connections that were made during this time, but mainly it is about the people that we meet and about where we feel like we belong.

Normally, I advocate for reading a book instead of listening to it, but as someone who is unfamiliar with Indian names and places, it was convenient for me to hear those pronunciations. It is difficult to switch between the two, so if you start butchering the names/places in your head, then it can be difficult to connect that to the ones being read to you. I also really liked the voice of the actor that read it.

I thought the overall story was extremely interesting and the characters were super complex and intriguing. I liked Shalini, although she was a complete idiot at the end of the book. I appreciated the ending of the book and how that connects to the whole story and its complexity. Trying not to give away too many spoilers, I do think Shalini gave up too easily, but I also wasn’t in that situation and probably can’t give a real analysis of what I would do.

The writing style is a little hard to get into, but once you are in, you are all the way in. Considering this book is out of my comfort zone, I was extremely happy with picking this book up and continuing to read it. I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I would definitely recommend it for someone with an interest in reading about emotional friendships and about army/militia relationships in India.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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