52 Good Books

Book Review 26 – Shards of Sunlight by Anand Nair

In the words of Bon Jovi ‘Wooooooooooaaaaaahhhhh, we’re half way there!’ Would you Adam and Eve it, it’s been six months of me reading a book a week, every week and reviewing it here for you. Six months?! Time has flown.

In six months I have metamorphosized from someone who used to pick up a book every few months and read it over the course of a few weeks to someone who is a compulsive reader. If I don’t have a book on the go I feel restless. I start picking up reference material and rifling through it. But more than that, reading has somehow made me more inquisitive, more interested in history, science, dinosaurs… I just want to know stuff about stuff. That doesn’t mean that all the information I acquire remains in my sieve-like head, but then you can’t have everything!

Before I go into this week’s book I just want to set the scene on how I came across the marvellous author. As you can see from my blog, I enjoy writing. Gabbing on about something or other is my forte and I most enjoy doing it in this space. So about a year and a half ago I googled some combination of words that included ‘Croydon’ and ‘writing’ and up popped a link to Croydon Writers. These guys are an awesome bunch of writers, but there are two of them in particular whose writing I have got to know well since starting to attend the group. Michael Round has written a whole stack of brilliant books, one of which I will be reviewing next week.


The second person from the group whose work I have read is Anand Nair. ‘Shards of Sunlight’ is based on some of Anand’s childhood experiences of growing up in Kerala, however the things that happen to her protagonist Indu are not autobiographical.

There is however one major point of confluence. Like Indu’s father, Anand’s own father was a political activist and like many other activists (including my own grandfather) at the time towards the end of the British Raj in India, spent time in jail as a political prisoner. This was a period of huge political and social flux in Indian history. I’m immensely proud of my grandfather (who died when I was young so unfortunately I barely remember him) for standing up for his beliefs. For being prepared to go to prison for them. We are fortunate enough to lead comparatively plush, sheltered lives these days. Most of us can’t even contemplate having to make such a stand.

Shards of Sunlight does sit against this political backdrop, but the focus of the story is Indu herself. It is the concerns of her personal little world that we are embroiled in. We watch her growing from a girl into a young woman and see her own family situation shift over the years.

Indu is unlike other girls in Kerala. She is far too educated for one. She keeps getting told that no man likes a wife that is too highly educated, with ideas in her head. But Indu wants more for herself than to be solely a wife and homemaker. Independent and free spirited she sets out her own path, rejecting the traditional ideals and we see her begin to develop her career and meet a man that she deems worthy of her. The trouble is will her family consider him worthy of her? Let’s just say the path of true love never runs smoothly.

Anand hooks you in with her skilful writing, and mesmerised, you are powerless to do anything other than turn page after page following the story of this fiesty young Indian woman, rooting for her every step of the way.

Anand is a self published author, but as I have mentioned before there are some gems to be found in amongst the self published book market. And here is such a gem. Shards of Sunlight is a delightful read that I enjoyed immensely.

Next week I’ll be reviewing Michael Rounds book ‘One Promise Kept’. Come back on Monday and check it out.

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