Monday, March 4, 2013

The Kashmir Shawl

Title:  The Kashmir Shawl
Author:  Rosie Thomas
Publication Information:  Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc. 2011. 467 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book base on the title. I am fortunate enough to own a Kashmir shawl - not the same variety as the one in the book but beautiful nevertheless. I was intrigued enough to want to read more.

Favorite Quote:  "The world wasn't either black or white as far as love went. There were infinite permutations of colour, and a hundred thousand grades of feeling, between loving and not loving. To deny as much, she began to think, was to deny not only the obvious truth but your own humanity."

The Kashmir Shawl is a book that moves between two intertwined stories - the story of Nerys, a missionary's wife in India in the 1940s and the story of Mair, her granddaughter. It is truly a story of relationships - marriages, friendships, and the relationships that are in between.

Upon her father's death, Mair finds a Kashmir shawl and a lock of hair in her mother's things. She knows they belonged to her grandmother. Her grandfather was a missionary in India during the 1940s, and his wife Nerys with him.

Feeling at a crossroads in her life, Mair embarks on a quest to try and find the history of this shawl. It is an exquisite piece of hand woven fabrics that took months to make - something special bought to commemorate a special occasion perhaps. That is what Mair knows, and with that she travels to India.

The book then weaves back and forth through Mair's journey and through Nerys' story. Yet, somehow, the story envelops you in its entirety. The movement between the two time periods and the characters does not jar and pull the reader from one to other. It seems to blend into one whole.

In addition, Nerys's story does not take the path I expected, and the history of the shawl does not end up being what I anticipated. That turn in a different direction adds depth to the story, and keeps it from being another story about old forgotten loves.

I don't know that I can say exactly why I enjoyed this book so much, but I know at the end, I sighed and was sad that it was over.

1 comment:

  1. I am trying to read this now. That cover is so pretty, I just knew I would love the story. But it is dragging. I stopped about 200 pages in and I don't know if I will be able to finish. Great review though, made me want to try again.