Evening is the Whole Day

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008 - Fiction - 340 pages
14 Reviews
Set in Malaysia, this spellbinding and already internationally acclaimed debut introduces us to the prosperous Rajasekharan family as its closely guarded secrets are slowly peeled away.

When Chellam, the family’s rubber-plantation-bred servant girl, is dismissed for unnamed crimes, her banishment is the latest in a series of recent, precipitous losses that have shaken six-year-old Aasha’s life. A few short weeks before, Aasha’s grandmother Paati passed away under mysterious circumstances and her older sister, Uma, departed for Columbia University--leaving Aasha alone to cope with her mostly absent father, her bitter mother, and her imperturbable older brother.

Beginning with Aasha’s grandfather’s ascension from Indian coolie to illustrious resident of the Big House on Kingfisher Lane, and going on to tell the story of how Appa, the family’s Oxford-educated patriarch, courted Amma, the humble girl next door, Evening Is the Whole Day moves gracefully backward and forward in time to answer the many questions that haunt the family: What was Chellam’s unforgivable crime? Why was Uma so intent on leaving? How and why did Paati die? What did Aasha see? And, underscoring all of these mysteries: What ultimately became of Appa’s once-grand dreams for his family and his country?
Sweeping in scope, sumptuously lyrical, and masterfully constructed, Evening Is the Whole Day offers an unflinching look at relationships between parents and children, brothers and sisters, the wealthy and the poor, a country and its citizens--and the ways in which each sometimes fails the other. Illuminating in heartbreaking detail one Indian immigrant family’s secrets and lies while exposing the complex underbelly of Malaysia itself, Preeta Samarasan’s debut is a mesmerizing and vital achievement sure to earn her a place alongside Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, and Zadie Smith.
  

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I loved the writing style in this book. - Goodreads
The character development is uneven. - Goodreads
I also loved the character development. - Goodreads
What I love about this book: the writing. - Goodreads

Review: Evening Is the Whole Day

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

This book is a difficult three stars, because I feel very rewarded by the book but even more disappointed by the larger story. What I love about this book: the writing. The descriptions, the language ... Read full review

Review: Evening Is the Whole Day

User Review  - John T. Hickey - Goodreads

I am fascinated by Preeta's narrator's ability to weave the current convoluted multi hyphenated realities of Malaysia's coming to be into the story of one Malay-Indian family's multigenerational ... Read full review

Contents

I
17
II
29
III
44
IV
67
V
91
VI
110
VII
136
VIII
175
IX
199
X
224
XI
249
XII
273
XIII
312
XIV
327
XV
340
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Preeta Samarasan was born and raised in Malaysia, but moved to the United States in high-school. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan, where an early version of this novel received the Hopwood Novel Award; she also recently won the Asian American Writer's Workshop/Hyphen Magazine short-story award. She currently lives in central France with her husband and dog.

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