Half 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
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
Genre: Fiction, women's fiction