21 September, 2020

Life In Wee Nooke

A likeable novel despite the unavoidable Mills and Boon touches.

Life In Wee Nooke
This is a revised version of a novel first published in 1996. It opens with a sentence from the heroine Parvati which to me seems regrettable: "I have always recognised that I carry an emptiness inside me, though I did not at first understand it." The sentence immediately tells one, if the title has not already done so, that the story to follow will involve a failed romance and will be what some reviewers describe as "sensitively told".

What follows is, on the whole, a pleasant surprise. The story is told in two parts. Parvati is the first and the shorter. She tells us about her deprived childhood in a reasonably civilised part of the Himalayan foothills. Her father dies young; her mother becomes tubercular and is sent to a sanatorium. Her uncle takes charge of her. He is the headmaster of a school at Nainital, and is made to sound slightly detestable.

He lives in a hideously-named house, "Wee Nooke", and under its roof, history teacher Salman promptly seduces the adolescent Parvati. He then disappears to America. Parvati enters into a platonic friendship with two...



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