Hello! Delighted to be with you today as part of the wonderful Blog Tour for the equally wonderful STILL LIVES by RESHMA RUIA. My thanks to the author and the team at Renard Press for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
The glow of my cigarette picks out a dark shape lying on the ground. I bend down to take a closer look. It’s a dead sparrow. I wondered if I had become that bird, disoriented and lost.
Young, handsome and contemptuous of his father’s traditional ways, PK Malik leaves Bombay to start a new life in America. Stopping in Manchester to visit an old friend, he thinks he sees a business opportunity, and decides to stay on. Now fifty-five, PK has fallen out of love with life. His business is struggling and his wife Geeta is lonely, pining for the India she’s left behind.
One day PK crosses the path of Esther, the wife of his business competitor, and they launch into an affair conducted in shabby hotel rooms, with the fear of discovery forever hanging in the air. Still Lives is a tightly woven, haunting work that pulls apart the threads of a family and plays with notions of identity.
Shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Reshma Ruia is an award-winning author and poet. Her first novel was described in the Sunday Times as ‘a gem of straight-faced comedy’. She has published a poetry collection and a short story collection; her work has appeared in international anthologies and journals, and she has had work commissioned by the BBC. She is the co-founder of The Whole Kahani – a writers’ collective of British South Asian writers. Born in India and brought up in Rome, her writing explores the preoccupations of those who possess a multiple sense of belonging.
I found this to be an emotional, often gut wrenching, story that looks at the impact of decisions you make and the impact they have on you and those around you – with often devastating consequences. It’s one of those books that you get so caught up in from the beginning and it’s tough to let the characters go when the final page arrives. I’m still thinking about them now!!
PK is a man out to live life ‘his’ way and not his fathers way. And that journey takes him from India to Manchester where he finds himself living a life he doesn’t know he wants anymore. Business brought him success, a wife and family, but he’s reached that age where he doesn’t know what is next and nothing excites him… until he meets the wife of a rival and that ignites his passion again.
Told from the perspective of PK you really get inside his mind, and what also works so well are the letters we get to read written by his wife – seeing life from her viewpoint really adds to the drama and reality of it all. She notices the changes in her husband but she finds it easier to discuss things in a letter with someone else, than to confront her husband and talk over their problems. You really get that head in the sand feeling about their relationship and despite the unhappiness they are unwilling to sit down and talk things over.
The story really takes you on a real emotional rollercoaster and that is down to how well the characters are written and developed along the way. Showing the frailty of human behaviours and how things can change so quickly allows you to connect on a personal level as they ponder the same questions we all do in life.
A story that packs a real punch – loved it!!