Evening Is the Whole Day

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Just look at her. No bloody shame.

Evening Is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan

Courthouse shirts, man, Arrow brand, nice soft cotton, all new-new. In which other house servants wear that type of quality clothes? At times, however, the narrative falters or challenges credulity. Uma is the prime actor in the plot, but the least satisfactory character. We feel much more for Chellam the maidservant — not just because we pity her but because we enter farther into her thoughts. Some subplots simply wither on the vine. Anomalies and odd shifts distract the reader. Her ambitious spiraling plot, her richly embroidered prose, her sense of place, and her psychological acuity are stunning.

Readers, responding to the setting, will immediately compare her to Kiran Desai. Archived from the original on Retrieved CS1 maint: Archived copy as title link. Categories : Malaysian novelists Malaysian fairy tales Living people Malaysian women writers Women novelists People from Perak University of Michigan alumni Malaysian people of Indian descent 21st-century Malaysian people 21st-century novelists 21st-century women writers Malaysian people stubs Asian writer stubs.

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Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Hardcover , pages. Published May 15th by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Evening Is the Whole Day , please sign up. I'm a littled tired of morbid exceptionally complex books , just for now, and I am reading Wonder Boys, but for future reference, how does this compare to The Lives of Others, by Neel Mukherjee, just in terms of the emotion, complexity, and beautiful prose?

No spoilers, please? Igor Koyfman It's some of the most beautiful prose I've read, bringing the world fully to life. But every chapter will wring your soul also. The achronological …more It's some of the most beautiful prose I've read, bringing the world fully to life. The achronological structure works great, posing and answering all the important questions in turn. If you're emotionally exhausted you'll need more energy to get through this. A book of this size should take days to read, yet I've struggled for over 2 weeks because it's so poignant. See 1 question about Evening Is the Whole Day….

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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Dec 18, LA Brower rated it it was amazing Shelves: novels-good-and-great , best-cover-art. I'm going to go ahead and call this my favorite novel of the decade.


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You know what - forget the decade! I don't know if I've ever loved a character as much as I love Aasha. Love though, is not all I feel for this book — and this, I t I'm going to go ahead and call this my favorite novel of the decade. Love though, is not all I feel for this book — and this, I think, is what makes it so seriously, truly, utterly great: it's also unrelentingly painful.

It will hurt you. It hurts, even when guided by a loving hand, to look so honestly at the brutality and smallness and meanness of which humanity is capable. It hurts to follow the trails of ruin left by willful blindnesses, shameful prejudices, and faithless underestimations; it hurts to watch small mistakes, no matter how innocently or ignorantly perpetrated, result in huge, enveloping, unrescindable sadnesses — but to be able to look at all of this squarely, attentively, and unsparingly; to depict it fully, in all its ugly complexity; to dwell on the pain, to pick and prod and examine it, to stare into its hideous face with humor and healthy cynicism, but also, somehow, hope — is, I think, the bravest sort of thing a piece of writing can do.

I smiled on nearly every page, but never did the novel allow me to indulge the dangerous fantasies of a happy ending — not for everyone, not in a world like ours. In sum: I friend this book, know or not? View 1 comment. Just when some thought it was impossible to please me This deserves 5 stars without any doubt. It baffles me why the world hypes barely mediocre books like 'The Kite Runner' or 'Lovely Bones' when gems like this one go almost unnoticed. There is not a single thing that is wrong with this book. In fact, it is a textbook example of how one should write a novel. Reviving the true art of storytelling, it manages to be gripping, enthralling, and captivating.

The novel reveal Just when some thought it was impossible to please me The novel reveals itself slowly as if we were peeling an onion, uncovering one thin layer after another. It is amazing how real all the characters are. They are never black or white, but are perfectly three-dimensional with all the gradations of grey. Each has their share of good and bad in them. They all make mistakes and hurt each other deeply but I couldn't bring myself to wholeheartedly hate any of them because in the end they were oh so very human.

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It might be a depressing potrait of the institution of family but there is no exaggeration in it. There is no excess drama that 'happens in books and soap operas only'. It is a wonderful piece of prose. It is lush without being overwritten, rich but still delicate and light. Call me old-school but I still believe writers should truly master the language, have a vast vocabulary, use synonyms, create metaphors that would strike you with their originality and appropriacy, and just take you on a journey.

And Preeta Samarasan does just that which is why I am going to be a fan forever and ever. View all 6 comments. Jan 05, Zanna rated it it was amazing Shelves: bechdel-pass. Life seems to violate it all the time via, for instance, the miracle by which plants release oxygen or the wherewithal of those women, mostly who wash dishes, rake leaves, stack dried and folded towels neatly back in the cupboard.

Of course, you get tired doing it, so the law is really intact. If time flows in the direction of spill and shatter, it 4. If time flows in the direction of spill and shatter, it flows in the direction of fatigue with equal certainty. Preeta Samarasan has chosen to tell this story against the gradient, from spill and shatter and exhaustion back to hope and harmony and wholeness. The result is totally devastating, which shows me something about my relationship with time; I can tolerate the knowledge of past trauma better than of sad and certain prophecy; I am capable of living for the future.

My culture is like this; our concept of history is a line leading somewhere. Thus we can tell those traumatised in their lives or histories to 'get over it' to 'move on', because the 'arrow' of time points, out of whatever devastation we shrug off our responsibilities with weasel words and crocodile tears , towards glory. So I applaud this novel and its author for challenging me to think against my grain.

At the beginning-end it seemed I'd fallen in with a dismal crowd of unpleasant, selfish people with hardly any attractive qualities. As the past unfolds though, the narrative tenderly takes the part of each one of them, revealing the reasons behind every unkind cast of speech and thought, affording each soul the tragic sympathy Shakespeare gives Macbeth though not his wife. By the time I reached the end-beginning, I'd forgiven all the characters I'd hated, and come to love those I'd liked from the start all the more. The backdrop of Malaysia is evoked in its natural lushness and stained with multiple undercurrants of racial tension.


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The uprisings after the election are an appropriately jarring intrusion into the otherwise lazily unspooling narrative, but the conditions that produce these events are painted and played out in the daily drama of the street and even the household. Samarasan deals with race and class relations delicately through the framing of romantic relationships, personal grooming, religious practices and beliefs, and food in all its aspects. Aasha's friend, the half-white ghost, bears witness to a destructive colonial legacy.

Her view from the pond is only one of this deceptively simple tale's many submarine shadowy silk spun depths. My favourite character is the sane, empathic witness Uncle Ballroom, who tells us "Attention is a perfectly valid thing to seek". Words of wisdom! View all 8 comments.

Dec 15, Zak rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. This is a fascinating tale which takes place in the 'Big House' of an idealistic hot shot lawyer. The setting is in Malaysia, at about the time she gained independence from the British in The story has many layers, which unfolds in a non-chronological manner.

There are many questions begging to be answered, like what made a doting elder sister suddenly turn cold and indifferent to her 4-year old sibling? What 'crime' did the servant girl, Chellam, commit to cause her to be dismissed under This is a fascinating tale which takes place in the 'Big House' of an idealistic hot shot lawyer. What 'crime' did the servant girl, Chellam, commit to cause her to be dismissed under a cloud of shame and disgrace? What did the previously beloved wayward 'Uncle Ballroom' do to cause him to no longer be welcome in the Big House?

What caused the previously close relationship between a father and daughter to disintegrate into a situation where they can no longer look each other in the eye? More importantly, who is Preeta Samarasan and why have I never heard of this writer before? The over-arcing theme of this book is 'change' Mistakes are made, hopes are dashed and one watches these changes like an inevitable, slowly unfurling train wreck. Against the backdrop of the disintegration of this family is the disintegration of the founding ideals of the nation itself.

The initial hopes of an independent new state comprising disparate ethnic groups, working hand-in-hand towards a bright, promising future, only to let brooding suspicions, envy, jealousy, greed and avarice of the political classes creep in and slowly wreak their insidious effects, culminating in the race riots of which tore the young nation apart, never to be the same again.

For as much as the author unveils the family's sad story in tantalising prose, filled here and there with dark humour, stinging observations and colloquialisms, one gets the idea that she is really writing about the tragic stillbirth of an entire nation. Final rating: 4.

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If you have not read and decide to pick up this book, you might find things a bit confusing sometimes, due to its non-chronological structure. My advice is not to worry about it, you didn't miss anything, just read on. All the 'missing' parts will be filled in in due course.


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Also, colloquial and native terms are used liberally throughout the book. If you need help understanding the meaning or context of certain words or sentences, feel free to message me. I would be glad to help in any way I can.

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View all 3 comments. Apr 08, britta rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Every single person. Shelves: all-time-favorites. Holy cow. Rich and sad and confusing and rewarding. I need a thousand more stars to even get close to how I feel about this book. From the first sentence oh, that gorgeous sentence! I knew it was going to be one of those books that would change my life.

And it did. I was hurt and in love and sad for and just bowled over by the characters in this book, wanted to curl up with Aasha behind the PVC settee and and watch and wonder and talk Holy cow. I was hurt and in love and sad for and just bowled over by the characters in this book, wanted to curl up with Aasha behind the PVC settee and and watch and wonder and talk to the ghost daughter. I want to drink Milo and swing on that swing next to Uma, see what she sees.

It's a miracle of point-of-view, that I could get to know all of the characters so well as I did and from one author. This book feels like a million books in one, absolutely the best thing I've read Jul 05, Alan rated it really liked it Recommended to Alan by: Kinga. Shelves: novels , read-in OK,catching up.

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Trying to.. It has a focus on bodily functions: shit, piss and snot drip from its pages. It's quite useful Appa the house's patriarch has no sense of smell good but slow, more later.. It's quite useful Appa the house's patriarch has no sense of smell or he might never have married Amma. They have three children, Aasha who converses with ghosts, the jokey brother name?

People are portrayed in fully rounded terms, the servant Chellam, for example, although she is beaten by her father, all her money taken from her and is snubbed by the family, is no saint herself, given to pinching the thigh of her charge, the old woman of the house. She entertains the children with her film star posters and physical attributes like the white threads of grease that spiralled out of her pores like butter icing from a hundred tiny pastry bags when she squeezed the skin of her nose.

It's beautifully written with precise and lovely descriptions of butterflies, flowers, houses and skies. The relationships are complex and engaging, it's funny, and thought provoking. It interweaves history and poltics into the narrative but not with a heavy hand, the writing stays light and breezy even when dealing with, for example, the race divides between the Indians, the Malays and the Chinese. So it sounds close to perfect and it is. But as I said sometimes it gets a bit slow. It goes back and forth in time, and often this gives a fresh angle on something we know about: usually this is good, a further revelation that might make us change our minds about a character or situation, but occasionally, just occasionally, I thought OK, can we move on now eg when the matriarch dies and instead found the narrative going backwards again.

But don't let that put you off, this is a fab book. May 21, Jaanaki rated it really liked it Shelves: anaquarianslibrary , fiction. The story is set in Ipoh in Malaysia and it follows the domestic drama that unfolds in the family of Lawyer Rajasekharan who live in the Big House located on Kingfisher Lane. The lawyer lives with his wife Vasanthi,his mother, children -Uma,Suresh and Asha and a maid Chellam who is the same age as Uma.

The story begins a week after Uma has left to the US and the family is in the process of kicking Chellam out of the house. And thus begins the narrative that goes backwards to tell the reader what ha The story is set in Ipoh in Malaysia and it follows the domestic drama that unfolds in the family of Lawyer Rajasekharan who live in the Big House located on Kingfisher Lane. And thus begins the narrative that goes backwards to tell the reader what happened within the four wall of the big house that leads to the Exodus of Chellam.


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