Friday, August 24, 2012

Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar - Review and Guest Post!

Happy Friday!

I love blog tours! You know why that is? Because it gives me many options to read books which I otherwise would not find and meet authors whom I probably wouldn't have met. Today I will present one of these books to you, books, which I truly like and these are like gemstones amongst others.



Ladies and gentlemen, WOW! Women On Writing! presents: Love Comes Later by Mohana Rajakumar.

My stop includes review, guest post and information about the book and author. Let's start with the review of Love Comes Later.




Tour Dates: July 30 – August 24
Title: Love Comes Later
Author: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
Genre: Literary Fiction
Twitter Hashtag: #LCLQatar

Synopsis:



Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love.

A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.
     


My review:  

Love Comes Later by Mohana Rajakumar awed me. It was a fascinating page turner, smoothly written and I could not put it down before the last page was turned. It was brilliantly created masterpiece which combined traditions, religion, family topics and last but not least also the complication of love. It was all and nothing what I expected, but I truly enjoyed it!  

Plot:  

Abdulla lost his wife few years ago and finds him in a situation where his family thinks he should re-marry. His family is convinced that Abdulla is not capable of finding him a new spouse and they organize an arranged married for him. Arranged married is not something Abdulla finds appealing and this is where the story starts off. 

Abdulla's expected new wife is Hind is neither excited about the marriage and besides that, Hind's roommate in London during the studies - Sangita - is also complicating things furthermore and relationships and love gets interesting.  

The mixture of bringing three different traditions - Qatar Muslim, Hindu and European - together gave a lot extra to the story. It added extra color and fascination for reading this book. The author gives excellent insight into contemporary Qatari society with oil money, contradictions and different values.  

Love Comes Later is an excellent title for this book! One of the prejudices about arranged marriage is that you will learn to love your spouse, it does not have to happen right away. Besides that, Abdulla truly finds his love, just little later and unexpected way. I have to admit, that with very different cultural background and traditions, I will never be able to understand the idea of arranged marriages, but the reading experience of Love Comes Later was not disturbed by my own thoughts about it.  

Characters:  

Abdulla was cute. Yes, cute. There were times where he got me angry and I wanted to shake him and tell him to man up, but there were parts of me that really liked his loyalty to his family, his rebellion towards what was forced upon him and his . Abdulla grew with the story and it was visible, that author enjoyed writing his character.  

There were quite many characters in the book and it took me little time to familiarize myself with all of them. It was confusing in the beginning of the story, probably because of the many strange sounding names and due to the amount of the supportive characters. But the total picture of Love Comes Later was colorful and alive and I loved that.  

Generally:  

Love Comes Later is a book about differences, be it cultural, religious or interracial. Yet it shows, that whatever the background we have, love knows no boundaries. It can be complicated and hard, but at the very end it does not matter. What matters is who is the person whom you end up with.   I highly recommend Love Comes Later!  

5 Flowers!
5 stars.  

Thanks goes to WOW! Women On Writing and to the author for providing me with the review copy!    

About the Author:

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a writer who has lived in Qatar since 2005. She has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. Her dissertation project was published as Haram in the Harem (Peter Lang, 2009) a literary analysis of the works of three Muslim women authors in India, Algeria, and Pakistan. She is the creator and co-editor of five books in the Qatar Narratives series, as well as the Qatari Voices anthology which features essays by Qataris on modern life in Doha (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010). Her research has been published in numerous journals and anthologies.

She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine based in Doha and a winner of the She Writes We Love New Novelists competition. She has been a regular contributor for Variety Arabia, AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, Expat Arrivals, Speak Without Interruption and Qatar Explorer. She hosted two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio. Currently Mohana is working on a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and a novel based in Qatar. She believes words can help us understand ourselves and others. Catch up on her latest via her blog or follow her on Twitter @moha_doha.

Author’s Websites:

Mohanalakshmi Phongsavan, PhD - www.mohanalakshmi.com
Maktaba, Children's Library Project, co-founder - www.maktabaqatar.org


Book trailer:





The author agreed to write a guest post for Me and Reading, so ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar!


Choosing or Rejecting the Other



By Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

“But I don’t even think of you as black,” people, mostly Caucasians, would say to me on the off moment when race would enter a conversation before we decided what to order for dinner or what movie to see. Even with that dubious promise, I still felt a sting each time a friend would also say, “My family would never let me marry [or date] a black person.” From high school to college, the feeling was the same: a rush of embarrassment, confusion, and also betrayal. If they didn’t like black people, presumably because they were different, then how did they really feel about me?

Being a child of immigrants and growing up in a North Florida town as an Indian girl meant I had no real side to speak of in the classic dividing race line of America. I wasn’t black, which everyone seemed to find so unfavorable, but since my skin wasn’t white, I didn’t fit in either community.

And perhaps these early encounters with being what academics in cultural studies call “the other” or different is what shaped my own interests in reading and writing. My latest book, Love Comes Later, is an exploration of how young people in traditional societies negotiate the boundaries between themselves and those from other cultures.

The characters Sangita and Abdulla assess what religion means to each of them personally and as a couple. They’re of different faiths: Islam and Hinduism. Their parents have certain opinions about the viability of a long-term relationship. Religious conversion is one debate at the heart of this story, since Muslim men and women cannot marry someone who is not of their faith in a Muslim country.

In today’s globalizing society, intermarriage, between ethnicities or religions, is a fact that cannot be ignored or discouraged by law or social customs. I need look no further than my own romantic journey as an example.

A lifetime of wanting to please my parents and find a South Indian mate, lead me to move to the Middle East, as far away as I could get from communal expectations of how to live my life. Now celebrating six years of marriage with a husband of very different background than my own, I hope that the world we give our children is a more compassionate and accepting place.

Finding a good man, of any creed, in the contemporary climate is not easy. If you are so lucky, I advise, snap him up quickly because they seem to be a shrinking breed.

The longer you wait for this momentous decision, and yes, for ladies in particular, the older we are when someone wonderful yet unexpected comes along, the more likely family members will concede their objections when they see your happiness.

After all our son, a child of two cultures, growing up in a third, will have to make his own decisions in the entirely new context of the world he will find himself in as an adult.

What do you think? Are people’s attitudes changing towards the taboo of marrying outside your community? Or are things more rigid than ever?

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Feel feel to comment with what your thoughts are!
Thanks, Mohana, for coming by and writing a guest post!


Happy reading!




 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Inga for hosting me. I know my guest post on marriage may raise some eyebrows so interested to see what your readers think.

    Glad you liked Love Comes Later.... Abddulla was a such a hard character to write because he's so different from the real me. But in the end, wef found our way and I knew a lovable (if at times annoying) protagonist is key!

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  2. Sounds fabulous. I would love to read this book. Dawn

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  3. Sounds fabulous. I would love to read this book. Dawn

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