Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading All The Tomorrows by Nullu Nasser
ALL THE TOMORROWS by Nillu Nasser
4 out of 5 stars
Set in Bombay, the novel starts when Jaya, one year into an arranged marriage, discovers that her idealist, undemonstrative husband, Akash, has a lover. Criticised by her parents and feeling uncared for, her torment results in a truly shocking action, so stomach-turning I wondered if I could actually carry on reading the book. Brave of the writer to include it, and that I reacted so strongly shows that it was well-written; I did continue, anyway.
Akash is knocked sideways by Jaya’s extreme reaction, and his life takes a swift, sharp turn downwards. In short, this novel is about a falling apart and slow coming together… several of them.
The first twenty per cent is about Jaya and Akash’s younger years and the immediate fall-out of ‘the event’, after which we are moved swiftly on by being told that ‘the years sped by’, and suddenly it’s twenty years later, when we find out how the characters’ lives have fared in the interim, and what happens when they collide once more.
Nillu Nasser is a talented writer, without a doubt. One of the reasons I chose this is because I like to read about other cultures, and this book taught me stuff I didn’t know, so that’s a tick from me. Her storytelling ability held my interest, which is good for another big shiny red tick. On occasion the dialogue felt a little stilted, or a teensy bit Hollywood, and she fell into the debut novelist trap of using dialogue to impart information to the reader rather than keeping it realistic, but I’ll cut her some slack with this; it was not constant, and, as I said, it’s a debut novel, and a good one (nb, this is not her first published work, but her first published novel). Her characterisation was good; Jaya, her sister Ruhi, and their mother, were real, as were Akash, his friend, Tariq, and his lover, Soraya; Ms Nasser writes them all in clear definition, and even the secondary characters were completely convincing ~ another big tick!
I was, however, less sure about the pacing and structure. With the younger lives of Akash and Jaya taking up only around the first fifth of the book, I was given little time to care that much about what happened to them before suddenly they were older but nothing much had gone on in the intervening twenty years except more of the same. How much more effective it would have been to have cut the line about speeding years, and have a couple of interim chapters showing their lives after five, ten or fifteen years, too. Akash tells Soraya all he has suffered in those years, but I wanted to see it, not just read it in a spoken report. I loathe clichés, not least of all book reviewing ones, and you can’t play out every scene or the book would be a thousand pages long, but in this case I needed to be shown, not told. For me (and a review is only ever a personal opinion), a slow build up could have turned this 4* book into a 5* one.
As the rest of the story unravels, Ms Nasser continues to write with authenticity, care and sensitivity, and I’d say that if you like emotional family dramas, you’ll love this.
Sometimes we can’t escape the webs we are born into. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall.
Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.
Jaya cannot contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.
Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash’s reach?
Nillu Nasser is a writer of literary fiction novels. In March 2017 she signed a three book deal with Evolved Publishing. She also blogs, writes short fiction and poetry.
Nillu’s short story ‘Painted Truths and Prayer Beads’ was published in May 2016 in Mosaics 2: A Collection of Independent Women. Another short story ‘The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress’ was published in June 2016 in UnCommon Origins, an anthology of short fiction. In 2017, ‘Tombstone Man’ reappeared in UnCommonly Good.
Nillu has a BA in English and German Literature and an MA in European Politics. After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love.
She lives in London with her husband, three children, one angelic and one demonic cat, though she secretly yearns for a dog. If you fly into Gatwick and look hard enough, you will see her furiously scribbling in her garden office, where she is working on her next story.
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The book can be purchased for a discounted price until December 12th, when it will return to the full price.