So I was lucky enough to not only read one great, 5 star book last week (A Man Called Ove) , I was fortunate enough to read TWO 5 star books last week. The second one was The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. It’s written by the author of Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows, Balli Kaur Jaswal.
I read Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows last year and I loved the characters. The author’s ability to bring a culture that I don’t have much experience with alive in my head was amazing. Usually a second novel following close on the heels of such a successful debut falls flat.
This wasn’t the case with The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters.
In some ways, this book was even better than her first. The premise of the novel involves three sisters making a pilgrimage to India. This journey is a promise made to their mother on her deathbed. Each of these women are resistant to the journey, but each for a different reason. Throughout the novel, the reader learns about these women . Their lives, and why each of them has ended up in this place (spiritually), not sure where they belong.
The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores a world not often seen in popular literature
And so well, too. The women were so lively and fleshed out. Descriptions, while not over the top, created a tangible background to the story. Within a story ripe with family drama, is a story about the plight of women in other countries like India and Pakistan.
It’s mind blowing to think that such inequality of the sexes is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. It’s frustrating and angering to discover that women are dismissed and treated as second class citizens in this day and age. And it’s mind numbing to think that men have not come to their senses about women and their potential beyond bearing them male children.
In some cases not only are women not fighting this, some are perpetuating the inequity by instilling feelings of inferiority into their female children.
This novel not only brings up this controversial topic, but other somewhat taboo subjects such as sex-selective abortion and assisted suicide. This novel is a perfect read for a book club or even a high school English class with mature students. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get out of the rut of reading the same predictable novels.