By Indira Ganesan
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95, 270 pages
As Sweet as Honey, by Indira Ganesan, is narrated by Mina, a young girl who is from the small Island of Pi off of the coast of India. Mina tells us the story of her favorite Aunt Meterling, who is widowed within minutes of being married and left pregnant and heartbroken. The story unfolds as Meterling learns to cope with her loss as she deals with the scorn of neighbors who gossip about her marriage outside of her race and caste as well as her conception of a child out of wedlock. The neighbors get more to gossip about as Meterling falls in love with her late husband’s cousin.
Ganesan’s writing style is simple and sweet, much like honey. She hops from vignette to vignette, painting us a picture of childhood and love. This is a strong example of good women’s fiction. Each woman Ganesan portrays is resilient and full of life. Each of them has to face their own future, and each must defy custom in some way in order to build a stronger future for themselves and for those who will come later. This is a simply beautiful novel and a must-read. Ganesan’s writing is memorable and drips with lovely Indian words and names, placing you firmly in her world.
Reviewed by Nicole Green