Over five years ago, I read my first Mohana Rajakumar novel entitled Love Comes Later which introduced me to the world of contemporary Arab fiction and the two main characters of Rajakumar’s newest novel Pearls of the Past, Abdulla and his wife Sangita, who met while graduate students in London and fell in love, following the death of Abulla’s first wife and unborn child, much to the chagrin and frustration of his family with whom they now live among back in Abdulla’s home country.
Living in a constant state of tension with both the past and the future hanging over them in a cloud…and with a cloud of another kind about to cover them and their family, Pearls of the Past, is a tense and onrushing work of fiction about dreams and desires of the past still affecting the dreams and desire of the present and future in ways which unfold as the story unfolds…and which threatens to swallow all of them up in a very dark way.
Pearls of the Past, has several plot lines (which this reviewer thinks will be further explored in future novels). It is a novel about romantic love – strained, guided by traditions and customs; it is also a novel about family love – strained, challenged by the traditions of the past as they meet the realities of the present and larger world; it is also a novel about the love of work – increasingly in at least one character’s memory that is fast fading.
I like this novel for its complexity and its humanity. It is a story that is set in the east but those in the west will see themselves – hoping, yearning for love, dealing with expectations and traditions that make themselves known in a variety of ways.
There is more to this complex and interesting novel than I am telling in this review. However, I did enjoy this novel and will simply say that the title of the novel Pearls of the Past is very relevant to the unfolding story line…in more ways than one.
I gave this novel a four-star rating on Goodreads
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.