Saraswati Park By Anjali Joseph – Book Review

by The British Asian Blog

Author:  Anjali Joseph

Title:  Saraswati Park

Publisher:  Fourth Estate

Published:  3 March 2011

Pages:  300


Review by The British Asian Blog

I’ve never been to Mumbai in India, but the novelist Anjali Joseph made me feel as if I had been there during the time when Mohan is working as a letter writer, and there with Mohan’s nephew Ashish who is sent to live with his uncle and retake his final year at college.  The story forms around three main characters, Mohan and his nephew Ashish and a secondary character Lakshmi who remains slightly out of focus in this story as Mohan’s wife.

Mohan is the reason why I like this book so much, because his story forms the foundation on which the story is set on.  Not only does Mohan makes me see the things he sees, he makes me feel the things he feels but there is allot going on than just his regular daily routine, and Mohan gradually opens up and tells you about it.

Mohan’s job as a letter writer is a job which once flourished, and he explains how so many people use to sit outside the courts under this huge tree writing letters for other people and over the years he has seen his work colleagues fade away to only a handful.  His job use to be one of pride and being able to write letters fill in forms and simply write things for people who couldn’t.  But now he feels stuck between a job which no longer pride but only a necessity.

Mohan is joined by his Nephew, a teenager who is struggling to find his feet.  A character which is opposite to Mohan in many ways.  Both male characters share their struggles with you as a reader and because most of us have gone through similar feelings some point in our lifes – we can relate and feel for them.  Lakshmi on the other hand appears at first to be a women in control and like a robot stuck to her routine.  But just like the other two male characters she shares her concerns and issues gradually and you can help but feel for her.

Saraswati Park is filled with interesting characters and what makes this book so interesting is how the surroundings are explained.  You can simply picture yourself inside the scenes of this book.

Saraswati Park in its self is half a character in this book; it’s a place where all emotions are captured and a place which brings together the goods, the bads, the highs and the lows.

The author Anjali Joseph has done remarkably well with this debut novel, although the ending is somewhat disappointing in comparison to the start and middle of the story – but I guess this is a clever little move by the author to keep you engaged with the novel right till the last words.  I have formed my opinion of the author as someone with potential and I am keen to see what else is in the pipe line.

Overall, I would rate this novel 7.5 out of 10.