Epic ... An engrossing fable about an octogenarian's liberation from her decades-long roles as wife and mother ... Shree scrupulously examines the demarcation between life and death, mother and daughter, past and present, and how grief and memory, when harnessed, have the power to cultivate long lost connections. The narrator's witty observations and lengthy humorous asides...add to the breadth and depth of this rich novel ... For the reader who wades in Shree's luminous prose, the book's threads braid into a single, vivid tapestry.
Rhymes and puns and other wordplay abound, lending a feeling of spritzy frivolity to an otherwise long and death-haunted tale ... While the prize-winning and acclaim make for a terrific success story, I wish I could muster more enthusiasm for the novel itself. But too much of its burbling lyricism feels insubstantial, like a glass of beer that’s mostly froth ... No doubt the digressions and embroideries are part of this novel’s rejection of borders. It will wander as its whim takes it, and if its voice appeals to you, you won’t regret its rambles.
Meandering ... Reading the English translation of Shree’s novel is, at times, like wading through a sandstorm ... Even for a reader familiar with Indian culture and Hindi, extricating oneself from the novel’s many tangents — rife with platitudes that are irrelevant at best and pontificating at worst — proves difficult. The rambling plot and vast range of characters, often identified only by their title in relation to Ma...risk losing readers ... Rockwell aims to mimic the dhwani in the English translation, tossing phrases like 'fume fume fume,' “'ove-shove,' and 'sputtering stuttering' onto a single page. But the effort can sometimes read as sophomoric, even silly ... For her part, Shree is cut from a different cloth, unabashedly paving her own path through the sandstorm of writers pining for Western acclaim. Rockwell aims to keep up, but 'translation is a tricky business.'