The House of Blue Mangoes

The House of  Blue Mangoes
by David Davidar
2002 / 421 pages
rating – 7.5

I was disappointed in what could have been such a great novel.  This is the saga of three generations of the Dorais, a non-Brahmin, land-owning family of southernmost India.  The time frame is 1899 – 1948,  the period of so many changes just before independence.

The book starts out with the rape of a young woman and the response of feuding families.  There is a Catholic priest who tries to make peace, a tea-plantation manager and a few other whites but most of the characters are family members.   Two opposite boys make the second generation fairly interesting but the book doesn’t really come alive until the third generation when Kennan Dorais has an adventure with a tiger.

The story line and characters are there,  but the history is sparse and the style is flat.   And to think I’d looked forward to this for so long!


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