Review Blog

Sep 26 2008

Evening is the whole day by Preeta Samarasan

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Estate, 2008.
Preeta Samarasan's Rajasekharan's family story is told through Aasha's eyes, and is set against the newly emerged state of Malaysia. Woven through the disintegration of this Indian-Malaysian family is the birth and struggle of a new country fresh from the colonial rule of Great Britain.

The Rajasekharans are a wealthy family; Appa is a successful criminal barrister and his wife, Amma has come from humble beginnings and is very aware of her social standing and works hard to make the coffee morning set. Poati is the mother in law who indulges all but Amma and her unfortunate servant, Chellan. The children of this loveless and soulless marriage are Unna, a precocious child and now an intelligent young woman about to go to study in an Ivey league university in the USA, Suresh and indulged younger brother and the youngest, Aasha, whose only support, Unna, is about to abandon her.

Ghosts are the only friends for Aasha after Unna suddenly and inexplicably no longer includes her in her world. She observes her family almost as an outsider, from her refuge point on or behind the green PVC couch. Through her we see the family moving further apart. Appa has his mistress and he spends most of this time with this family. Paati, who seeks favour from all, sets all against her daughter in law, who she considers an unworthy match for her son.

All the stories, the secrets and lies come spiraling together at the point of Unna's departure. And these are all symptomatic of the complexity that is Malaysia.
Mark Knight

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