Title: Shiva's Arms
Author: Cheryl Snell
Publisher: Writer's Lair Books
Format: Hardcover, 193 pages
From the book cover:
"Shame! This is your fault only," Amma yelled, shaking her fists. "You godles girl, you have weakened my family, my son's caste lost because of you!"
"You're the one! You won't be satisfied until you've destroyed everything, smashed it to bits with your tiny bare feet!" Alice pointed to Amma's brown toes. Amma looked down and flexed them, the war suspended for a second until she ran to the ktichen. Pulse throbbing at her temples, Amma snatched a pair of pliers to her heaving chest, hiked up the hem of her sari, and scurried upstairs.
My Take: Because lately I seem to be perpetually behind, I just started reading this last night. I stayed up until I was finished, which meant the wee wee hours of the morning, as I have a tendency to savor and re-read certain parts of whatever book I'm on, sometimes even just to get a better understanding. (That also explains why I'm behind!)
I was immediately drawn in by the picture of Alice being hustled through the airport and into the sweltering Indian heat on her first visit to meet her new Indian relatives-by-marriage. Most of us have or know someone with an overbearing mother-in-law, and I think those issues are doubled, if not tripled, when you add in the cultural differences between groups like Americans and Indians.
As I read, I could feel Alice's frustration, her husband Ram's ambivalence and all of the interplay that exists when two women each want to run things. Amma's visits to her son's house in America are fraught with tension, although there are some close moments with Amma and Alice throughout the book where you think that all things are now settled and they've become at least contented with each other.
I enjoyed this book, although there were some rather abrupt transitions throughout. My fondest wish would have been to see the characters come to life in full flesh a bit sooner and to have more background info on the major players. This is a debut novel following some extremely well-received volumes of poetry, so I kept that in mind as I read, as the flow of poetry is often a bit fractured for effect.
All in all, it is well worth a read, as it reads quickly and is light enough (even with the subject matter) to make for a good summer reads book. I did, however, feel a need to take points off for the abrupt transitions and sometimes surface sketches of the characters and action.
Book Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Cheryl Snell has published over four hundred poems and stories online and in print. Her books include both fiction and poetry, and Prisoner’s Dilemma, her recent volume of poetry and art, won the Lopside Press Competition. Snell has been nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net four times, and her poem "Fire on the Cuyahoga" was chosen by Dorianne Laux for inclusion in the Sundress' Best of the Net Anthology last year. Follow her author's blog about all things Indian at shivasarms.blogspot.com
If you caught my teaser post this morning, you'll know that I am very excited about this book tour, as this is the first time that I've had an author available to answer ALL of your questions!!
I was offered the chance at an author interview, but I really suck at coming up with questions more interesting and original than "Where do your ideas for books come from?", so I'm counting on YOU to fill in that deficiency of mine!
You can get more information on the book at Writer's Lair Books, including an excerpt.
You can also visit Cheryl Snell's website for all kinds of goodies, including an author interview, a trailer, and recipes that you'll want to try!
BUY IT: This book is available on Amazon for purchase.
WIN IT: Writer's Lair and Cheryl Snell have been kind enough to offer one of you, my readers, a copy for yourself!
I'm making this super easy and hopefully fun.
For your first entry, simply fill out the form below, then leave a comment stating that you did so.
Extra entries (extra comment for each one):
1. Follow @cherylsnell on Twitter - leave twitter handle in your comment
2. Follow me on GFC - one entry if new follower, two entries/comments if an old follower (prior to this post) - leave your GFC name
3. Ask a question of the author! She'll be available for you today and I will forward any questions added throughout the week to her as well - 3 entries (no need for add'l comments; I will add these extra entries in myself)
I forgot to ask the publisher if they would ship to Canada, so I'm leaving this open for both US and Canada, and if they are unable to ship to Canada, I'll have them ship to me and I will ship it up to you if you win!!
End Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
UPDATE: My apologies, as I thought I had scheduled this to automatically post at 11:00 AM today - apparently, I did something wrong!
BUT, that means that I can add this first conversation from the teaser post:
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher for review. I was compensated in no other fashion and was not required to write a positive review.