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pascarelli has commented on (7) products.

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: A Vish Puri Mystery by Tarquin Hall
The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: A Vish Puri Mystery

pascarelli, September 2, 2012

I've been to India only once but this book was a great way to reconnect with the sights, smells, sounds of chaos of Delhi through the lens of an affable cast of characters. It also gave me a better understanding of the dark legacy of Partition. I like the way he weaves issues of land rights at different levels (partition and homeland, the Jin farmer hillbillys who have bought next door to Puri's house--and Puri's mixed feelings about the slippery social divide in the "new" India). Author Tarquin Hall has a wonderful way of making the world seem kinder than it is, but at the same time refuses to whitewash the events of partition, the role of women, and the tricky moral dilemmas that were played out at the household level. I read Hall's previous installment and will look forward to future Puri escapades.
**Check out Granta Summer 2009 for a great essay on contemporary India, the different generations relationship to wealth and class.
>>>"Capital Gains", by Rana Dasgupta
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Dance with Snakes (Biblioasis Translations)
Dance with Snakes (Biblioasis Translations)

pascarelli, August 16, 2012

Disclaimer: I am a HUGE fan of this Salvadoran author and have read just about everything New Directions has published by him (Lives & Loves of a She-Devil, Senselessness, etc).I love how he dresses down his (always) gristly subjects in a crazy, raucous style. His characters are deluded and unapologietic in their paranoia, the natural by-product of living under years of dictatorships, coups and counterinsurgencies. To wit: an unemployed liberal-arts graduate stabs a homeless man living in a beat-up Chevy and assumes his identity and things take off from there.
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Simply from Scratch (Large Print) (Thorndike Core)
Simply from Scratch (Large Print) (Thorndike Core)

pascarelli, August 16, 2012

This book is about a young widow's re-entry into the world following the death of her husband. While the themes of love, home, loss and redemption are frankly well worn territory, I have to admit this book felt different. It is a very well-crafted story, which sort of quietly pulls you in, fresh and full of humour. I like how she writes about home and how the people around you help you to be true to your values no matter what. The community does not let Zell go even though she has cut herself off almost entirely.
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Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden
Molly Fox's Birthday

pascarelli, December 5, 2010

This is the first book I have read by this author and I can't say I would run out in search of another one of her titles. I had a hard time staying with this novel and while there was some beautiful domestic imagery around gardens and cutlery, it was fairly heavy sledding most of the way. Told through a single POV, the plot reminded me of a sinewy series of interior ruminations of an mid-40s Irish playwright who has made her name in London and vacationing at her friend's country house in Dublin (ie, Molly Fox). There isn't really a "plot" (nothing really happens-a single day), but the narrative just builds through a series of accretions or images (the jug on the counter, a memory of her friend/former lover/celebrity art critic in the John Berger-esqe mold-who appears at the end of her afternoon to reveal a memory of his own). A meditation on relationships she forms while at Trinity and how each individual stands in relation to their "Irish-ness" (the art critic from Belfast who re-fashions himself as a proper London critic, the narrator's tenuous relationship to her large country Catholic family, etc). Kind of a dissapointment.
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Taroko Gorge by Jacob Ritari
Taroko Gorge

pascarelli, December 1, 2010

I read this in one sitting while waiting at LAX over Thanksgiving: this book MOVES and I highly recommend. The author cleverly subverts definitions of what it means to be an "insider" and an "outsider" in Taiwan (ie., Japanese schoolteacher in charge of a class trip that goes awry has as much difficulty navigating Taiwanese culture as does the NGO/war swaggering journalist and his surfer-dude American photographer. As the Taiwanese detective assigned to this case wryly observes: "OK, the Taiwanese aren't perfect but they're the best I know...American's aren't too bright-they dont have to be because their ancestors were- and they won't bother lying to 'simple' Asians' like us. The Japanese are as spoiled and devious as ever and I dont trust them, but if I had to I would risk my own life for one of them." The tensions between Japanese and their "colony" Japan, the "ugly" American and the place of spirituality and "belief" in a post-9/11 world form an interesting backdrop to this who-done-it set in the limbo space of a federal park. Ultimately a slam at skeptics and unbelievers. Dig it.
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