For me, summer reading has a particularly sweeter taste. There’s something decadent about curling up with a good book on a lollagazing summer afternoon, with the hot sun blazing in the distance. In a hammock, or curled up inside, it’s all good.
I’ve been reading Waiting for the Monsoon, by Threes Anna. It’s not a book that captured my attention (or heart) immediately. In fact, for the first half, it kind of felt like work. It’s a huge book, and after a certain point, I told myself I might as well slug through it now that I’ve gotten so far.
Often, there’s no pay-off for that sort of dedication. But this was different. Anna’s book started to grab at my heartstrings (you know, that maddening love when you realise you’re truly falling for the characters) almost two thirds in.
Waiting for the Monsoon tells the story of Charlotte Bridgewater, the Indian-born daughter of a British general. The Bridgewaters stay on after India’s independence, in a dilapidated mansion that is merely a phantom of its former glory. Through various time-shifting vignettes, we learn of Charlotte’s childhood during the height of the British Raj, her father’s nightmarish war experience in Burma, her failed marriage to handsome, tormented doctor, and finally, her growing love and devotion for an impoverished tailor, Madan, who finds his way into her previously forlorn life.
Sleepy, dusty and hot, I felt feel Charlotte’s frustrations with her life. As the story deepens and intensifies, I got caught up in the characters’ inner lives and their relationships with each other and their bleak setting. The way Anna weaves Charlotte’s life with that of Madan’s shows true brilliance.