The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
Long story short:
In 1950s Jaipur, India, Lakshmi has escaped an abusive marriage and has become the most requested henna artist in the city. But when her sister turns up announced, the delicate balance of Jaipur society is threatened.
I do not think I will be able to convey just how much I loved this novel, but let me try!
This is a story about history, womanhood, caste, family, self-worth, and so much more. Despite covering such heavy themes, it’s not forced on you. It really is a masterpiece.
The plot is slightly predictable, but I don’t care. The way in which it’s executed is just sublime. The imagery is stunning, and the prose is beautiful.
Lakshmi must be one of the strongest and most powerful female protagonists I have encountered, and I really felt as though I knew her. She was such a likeable character.
Even characters that I wasn’t meant to like, I did. I think that’s truly a testament to Joshi’s writing.
I loved the addition of Hindi words and the glossary at the back. A little fact about me is that my first language was Punjabi and then English. Punjabi is a very similar to Hindi, so I was honestly cracking up.
From every ‘hai baghwan’ (‘Oh god’), I could honestly picture how, and in what tone, this was being said! My favourite was definitely the addition of the swear words which were very accurately translated!
Even though it’s set decades before I was born, and I’ve only visited India a few times, I couldn’t get over how much the book resonated with me on a cultural level. It’s so accurate!
Thank you Alka Joshi for bringing Indian culture into the literary mainstream in such an eloquent manner.
Please read this book – it’s absolutely exquisite. It’s definitely one of my favourite reads of the year!
#ANovelPage rating 9/10
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