Jul 7, 2010

Book Review: Half Life by Roopa Farooki

Half LifeHalf Life by Roopa Farooki

The novel: Aruna Ahmed Jones decides suddenly to leave her physician husband Patrick and return home to Singapore where her old friend and former lover Ejaz or "Jazz" lives.  In the meantime, in Malaysia, Hari Hassan lays dying in a hospital bed, wanting to reconcile with his son Jazz and even to tell him the truth, finally.

"Jazz," he will write, again, and again, until he is heard, "we need to forgive each other. You need to forgive me. You need to let me go." (p. 18)
My reactions: The stories of Hassan, Aruna, and Jazz intertwine and each chapter returns to events in the characters' lives that have led them to their present situations. Hassan's and Aruna's poignant stories and Jazz's love for Aruna carry us on an emotional journey to face the past and deal with the present. The use of numerous flashbacks in the narrative was distracting, however. I didn't find that the technique worked as well in this novel. The story of Hassan, a very sympathetic character, was not linked to Aruna's story until well into the book, although both stories were told from the beginning in different chapters. But the story, in its entirety, is moving and very worthwhile reading.

About the author: Roopa Farooki is the author of The Corner Shop and Bitter Sweets. Born in Pakistan, she grew up in London, attended new College, Oxford, and teaches creative writing at the Canterbury Christ Church University. She lives in England and France.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Title: Half Life
Author: Roopa Farooki
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
Genre: women's fiction
Source: Library


  1. I haven't read her yet but she sounds like an author to watch :-)

  2. Oh too bad this wasn't a 5 star book. I was looking forward to it, and probably will still read it at some point. Thanks for the great review Harvee.

  3. You know, flashbacks are a really touchy thing, aren't they? They have to be so carefully constructed and somewhat logical, otherwise it just gets confusing! Thanks for posting, I'm wavering on whether to pick this one up. I'm still wavering, but then again, I'm pretty good at that...! :)

  4. This is a new one for me. I have read her previous books so thanks for highlighting this.

  5. I loved this book! It's a love story that reads a little bit like a thriller, page-turning and intensely emotional. I'd have given it 5 stars.

  6. She's written some other books that I want to read including this one!

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone. I wanted to say that my favorite character in the novel is the dying Hassan, whose life story is so moving. It took a while for his story to link up to Aruna's, though their stories are told at the same time, in different chapters. Thanks for your comments. I look forward to your reviews to see what I may have left unsaid.

  8. http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/07/pinks-in-6-words-i-wish-u-award-winning.html

    Friendship awards.
    Enjoy some!

  9. I'm eager to read this one. Though it will be some time before I get to it. Thanks for the review!


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