I’ve been catching up on…

I've been catching up on some reading; a few days ago, I read Chitra Divakaruni's collection The Unknown Errors of Our Lives (enjoyable), and just finished Bharati Mukherjee's thriller/family epic, Desirable Daughters (good stuff, although it took me a little while to get hooked; a little too much philosophical rambling up front). I need to keep up on these people -- they're not exactly the competition...more like big sisters, I guess. They got there first with their achievements, and I need to scramble a bit to try to catch up. :-)

I did read through the new chronology this morning, and I think it works, though I'm a little worried that after two stories from one family, we leave them for half the book and don't come back for quite a while. I didn't realize until this read through (despite David having told me this) just how much jumping around in time I do within many of the stories; I can totally see now why Katie thinks it'll be much kinder to my readers to at least give them the initial moments of the stories in roughly chronological order. (There are other good reasons for it too, not just kindness. :-) So tentatively, we're going with it.

The more I think about it, the more I like starting with "Seven Cups of Water", especially because returning to Medha in "Monsoon Day" at the end will do a lot towards making this feel like a coherent novel (across three generations and two families, but still). That story's clearly in need of revision -- I haven't touched it since I wrote it for Aqua Erotica, oh, four years ago? I can tell. The voice is way too modern, painfully so. Bob mentioned 'tightening it up' -- I'll try to get a few more specifics out of him before doing a revision, but I want to try to get to that in the next few days, along with all of Katie and David's notes on the other stories. Oof. What I'm really not sure of is whether I want to tone down the sex just a little bit in that story, bring it more into line with the rest of the book, to avoid setting up false expectations. Waffling.

Overall, I do like my book quite a bit -- it's a little bit of a surprise, honestly, finding that. I was nervous to read it straight through, afraid to find that despite others' opinions, I really wouldn't think it held together as a novel. Some stories are clearly stronger than others -- "Monsoon Day" appears to be the obvious stand-out, and "Acts of Faith" made Katie cry, which I consider quite an achievement, since she's not normally the sentimental type. Made me a little teary too, actually, reading it, which is just silly, but oh well. :-) I'm not sure if there are any other stories in particular which also stand out, but there are good moments, at least, in all of them. I'll be content with that, for now.

My big remaining worry is something which David pointed out in his read, and which I definitely noticed, reading through -- what he called the 'relentlessness' of the novel's focus on sexuality (and marriage, and babies). With the re-ordering, I got much of that relentless feeling in the second half, with the first-generation kids especially; I'm wondering if we need a break from it, a story that gives us a little bit of a breather. I'll see what Katie and Bob think, but other opinions are welcome. :-)

2 thoughts on “I’ve been catching up on…”

  1. I haven’t read all of the stories, but I have read quite a few.

    One thought that occurs to me, there is a minor emphasis on food and cooking, could it be a primary focus of one story, as an alternative to the sexuality? Still could be very focused on relationships and interactions, but perhaps via food vs. sex?

    just a thought

    Shannon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *