Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

I'd like to see a complete review of this book. Snippets of a review? That doesn't cut it. There's no doubt in my mind that I have positive things to say about it. I loved the way the author put me inside life in India today. Little conversations between people in India. Little trips to weddings. Little visits with people seeking a husband or a wife. I loved that.

But there are, also, for me, the negative things I must say about it. Most of the negative things can be summed up in one sentence: I think this book needed an editor. Here's the last paragraph of the first chapter, for example:   "The business took off slowly, as expected. A few people became members and Mr. Ali advertised on their behalf. He forwarded the replies to his members but also kept their details, and as the weeks passed, his files steadily grew." 

Do we need any of this? Whatever happened to show, not tell? Did Zama get an involved editor? Or were the publishers satisfied to throw together a pretty cover, a few comparisons to No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency on the back, and the rough text?

I liked this book. Parts of it were exceptional. I just wish it had been edited into a much stronger book.

Here's a bit from parts I liked:

'"I don't need a full fruit. How much for half?" asked Mr. Ali.
The man replied, "Eight rupees. Fresh, sir."
Mr. Ali said, "Five rupees."
"You are joking, sir. Just cut today on the slopes of Simhachalam. Came straight from the sacred town," said the vendor....
The temple town of Simhachalam is home to a famous Hindu temple and Mr. Ali wondered if the man would have tried quite the same sales pitch if he had known that his customer was a Muslim.'

Anyone else read this book? Thoughts?

This book was obtained from the publisher.


  1. I liked this book a lot. It was actually probably my favorite beach book last summer. I don't think it was meant to be great literature; I think it was meant to be a light read and the style reflects that.

  2. I liked it a lot, too, Marie. Perhaps you are right. Perhaps I want to make it more than what it was.

  3. I kind of want to read it just because of that last quote. :)

  4. I think your observation is very true in today's market where books (mainly eBooks) are rushed to get them to consumers without any editing or proofing (yet still charge an arm and a leg). I'm reading an eBook now where there are so many mistakes (Id instead of I'd, shed instead of she'd, etc.) it's astounding to me that this book actually was put on the market.

    Too bad because it's a wonderful book - I'm posting a review tomorrow.

  5. I haven't read the book or heard about it actually. I can see what you mean about the book needing a better editor though. I have to wonder sometimes what the editor is thinking when they leave certain things in.


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