The Lilac House is a complex and interesting book. It is the intersecting stories of Meera and Jak. Meera is the wife of a successful executive and the mother of two. She is also the author of a guide to cooking and entertaining for corporate wives.
Jak is a renowned expert on cyclones. He has returned to Bangalore from Florida to care for his severely injured teenage daughter and to produce a research paper.
Their first meeting occurs when Meera’s husband abandons her at a party, and their hostess enlists Jak to drive her home. (Meera’s home is the lilac house of the title). Not an auspicious beginning to a relationship! Anyway, Meera spends months trying to figure out why her husband abandoned her and their children. As she tries to figure out her new life and how to support her family, Meera re-connects with Jak.
Jak, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how his daughter Smrita came to be so grievously injured. He travels to the town where her accident occurred, but finds no answers. Jak then begins tracking down Smitra’s friends. When he realizes that he needs a research assistant to help him complete his paper, Jak ends up hiring Meera. Together, they work on Jak’s research paper, and together discover the truth of Smrita’s accident.
There were many times I wanted to set this book aside. The plot is convoluted, and there are far too many characters. It’s really typical of most Indian novels I have read, or attempted to read. But:I did receive this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, and felt bound to complete the book for review purposes. The Lilac House (published in India as Lessons in Forgetting) resolves itself in an unexpected and surprisingly satisfactory way. I’m glad I made it to the end. I hadn’t read anything by Anita Nair before. While this was good it will be a while before I attempt another of her works.
To be published:
Hardcover-St. Martin’s Griffin-April 2012
Softcover edition-St. Martin’s Griffin-April 2012