Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar

Thrity Umrigar's second novel If Today Be Sweet is a worthwhile read, in spite of its problems. Some passages are so beautifully written and suggest to me why her previous novel was so acclaimed. "There's a limitless, undying love that does not confine, that does not imprison or hold back, but that dances ahead of you like a shimmering sprite, that entices, that beckons you until you follow..." I did enjoy reading about Sorab, the now-American son with India far behind him, and the way "he had longed for his life to be seamless". However ultimately something was facile: the people too polite, the children too precocious, endings tied too neatly. Everything in these characters' lives serves as a prompt to start them "marvelling about America", whether it be good or bad, and the nuances of ordinary life go missing. The ending, also, was a bit implausible. But still, there was a bit of magic here. If Today Be Sweet was something of a pleasant read, though its reality was not all convincing.