#BookReview Still Lives by Reshma Ruia
‘The glow of my cigarette picks out a dark shape lying on the ground. I bend down to take a closer look. It’s a dead sparrow. I wondered if I had become that bird, disoriented and lost.’ Young, handsome and contemptuous of his father’s traditional ways, PK Malik leaves Bombay to start a new life in America. Stopping in Manchester to visit an old friend, he thinks he sees a business opportunity, and decides to stay on. Now fifty-five, PK has fallen out of love with life. His business is struggling and his wife Geeta is lonely, pining for the India she’s left behind. One day PK crosses the path of Esther, the wife of his business competitor, and they launch into an affair conducted in shabby hotel rooms, with the fear of discovery forever hanging in the air. Still Lives is a tightly woven, haunting work that pulls apart the threads of a family and plays with notions of identity. Shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize
A real story about family that I have to say I really enjoyed, there is something about the way Still Lives (Renard Press) by Reshma Ruia just lingers with you after you have read the last page. Very much character driven and wonderfully constructed and written.
The story of a family all just a bit flawed in their own way and it is PK Malik who really will grab the headlines from Sill Lives, when he leaves behind India his home and his plans of making a new life for himself in America via Manchester. But after visiting a friend this visit becomes much more than just that.
The years roll on by and PK is in his mid-50’s and married to Geeta who really wants nothing more than to see her home back in India. She is homesick. This is when PK is struggling with a lot in life, and worried about his business. Maybe he should have headed to America after all? Now he embarks on an affair who just happens to be the wife of his competitor, affairs are conducted in secret and in hotel rooms and this is what is happening to PK. There is so much to lose when you go down this road and there it is family life all wrapped up in a haunting and a story of betrayal but also love. You will enjoy some of the characters and yet there will be some you will not like. It will linger with the reader.
Still Lives by Reshma Ruia, shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize.
My thanks to Renard Press for the review Copy of Still Lives by Reshma Ruia. Published by Renard Press on 29 June 2022 and is now available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org
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