The Marriage Bureau for Rich People Paperback
by Farahad Zama
Part of the Marriage Bureau for Rich People series
What does somebody with a wealth of common sense do if retirement palls?
Why, open a marriage bureau, of course. And soon Mr Ali, from beautiful Vizag in South India, sees his new business flourish as the indomitable Mrs Ali and able assistant Aruna look on with careful eyes.
But although many clients go away happy, problems lurk behind the scenes as Aruna nurses a heart-rending secret; while Mr Ali cannot see that he rarely follows the sage advice he so freely dishes out to others. And when love comes calling for Aruna, an impossible dilemma looms...A colourful coastal town and contemporary marriage bureau prove a perfect backdrop for a splendid array of characters making sense of all sorts of pride and prejudice - and the ways in which true love won't quite let go - in this witty and big-hearted debut novel.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 02/10/2008
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780349121376
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.
Review by SmithSJ01
Charming, light and entertaining are three suitable words that describe this book. It is a curl-up-on-the-sofa kind of read; nothing challenging and nothing stimulating. I agree with one reviewer on Amazon who says that the author sometimes intrudes on the narrative to explain an aspect of Indian culture through a character and that it just isn’t necessary. There are times when the book becomes a little irritating as the plot becomes painstakingly obvious from a quarter through. Regardless of this though, it is still a lovely story about a traditional beliefs and values. What I have found surprising is that I just can’t write a review that encompasses all the finer points and gets to grip with the storyline. Maybe this just reflects my opening comments that there’s nothing really grips the reader, it is simply a light-hearted romance and nothing more. If I had nothing else to read I’d happily go on to read more by this author but he isn't one I’d seek out as soon as it is published. A nice holiday read though.
Review by Raven
Mr. Ali has just retired. He is getting under his wife's feet and strangers are stealing his hibuscus. He has, therefore, decided to open a marriage bureau for rich people. Being a man of sound common sense, he's sure he can sort out other people's romantic lives for them.What follows is a very gentle story about romances and families, full of luscious detail about the South Indian setting and the many (many, many) weddings our heroes play their parts in. The characters are sweet and have heart, the plot is not overly taxing and there are lots of small touches of humour. So far, so good. It is, in fact, very hard to criticise this book: it makes one feel ungracious. But one thing grates: a failure to strike a balance. There is one type of book, the savage indictment of conservative Indian mores and the grief this may lead to; there's another type, which is set entirely within the Indian social structure and doesn't question it. This novel tries to tread the line between the two and ultimately fails to do so satisfactorily; while acknowledging the heroine (Aruna, Mr Ali's lovelorn assistant), her unhappiness and what adherence how the social structure has cost her, the book fails to follow through in its criticisms. (Particularly egregious, I found, was the refusal to question the dowry issue: a contemporary novel addressing the issue without even touching on the illegality of the custom and the horrors it continues to be responsible for is inexcusable. This may be a personal bias, and it may not, but it significantly affected my enjoyment of what was otherwise a lovely novel.)Other than this, the style is simplistic and can be clunky, and the plot turns can be a little too pat, but nothing major enough to really detract. It's a lovely book. It just makes everything a little too simple.
Review by WorldLit
This book is a great casual read. The storyline is light-hearted, but book also contains some interesting information about Indian customs and traditions regarding weddings, courtship and matchmaking.
Review by CarolineTrevor
An amazing array of characters are found within this hugely enjoyable book that did not fail to make me smile.
Review by LyzzyBee
02 April 2011 - from AliLike the stories of R.K. Narayan (and that's praise indeed) or the No. 1 Ladies' series, these deceptively simple stories of an Indian marriage bureau are entertaining and truthful. The book aims to tell us about modern India, and succeeds in doing so, which adds a lot of interest. Clever use of the sentence structure to explain unfamiliar terms and excellent use of Mrs Ali's English essays to explain wider concepts. Charming, but with a bite.