I love books that deal with other cultures so it was a sure bet that I’d want to read And Laughter Fell from the Sky by Jyotsna Sreenivasan. This novel is about the Indian culture and their traditions especially where their children are concerned. It is a novel of family, tradition, loyalty, and love.
Rasika is from an Indian-American household and she’s come of the age already where her horoscope is saying she must be married and soon. Rasika has always been the good Indian daughter; following her parents wishes and trying not to upset them by being too American. What they don’t know can’t hurt them and Rasika does have a bit of a adventurous side to her. While she has mixed feelings on an arranged marriage she knows this is the Indian way and she will go along with her parents wishes. The only problem is that every man they propose to her is never right or she finds other ways to sabotage the union. Could the reason be meeting Abhay again? She’s known him a long time as he was her brother’s friend but she rejects this idea as well. She could never love Abhay as he isn’t the rich and stylish man she wants to eventually be married to. And yet the fates seem to keep throwing them together…
Abhay, after not faring too well in a commune, is back at home with his parents. Abhay is the complete opposite from Rasika in that he doesn’t want to follow the Indian custom for everything. He wants to live his own life and do what he wants which infuriates his father to no end. You see Abhay is very intelligent and could pretty much do anything he wants to. Yet he doesn’t want to follow the set path of becoming a doctor or lawyer; money isn’t everything to Abhay. He wants to do something with his life that will end up making a difference somehow. Rasika is really not the type of woman he would normally be attracted to. Sure she’s beautiful but all she’s concerned with is how she looks and is focused on obtaining the perfect family life that her checklist says she’s always wanted. Abhay can’t get her out of his mind though, no matter how hard he tries. The question is – how can he convince her that she loves him too?
As for the characters of the novel – well I wasn’t too fond of Rasika throughout a good portion of the book. She came off to me as a spoiled girl interested more in style and money than in anything more concrete. As the story progressed though I felt more and more that Rasika really used that image as a shield for the conflicting feelings she was really having and I began to feel sorry for her. It must be hard to be trapped into having to accept a marriage or life you may not want and having no way to get out of it. Abhay was a guy that I liked although I found his indecision irritating at times. Ultimately I think it would be very hard to live in the Indian culture but then again I haven’t been brought up in it. If it’s what you know and expect then I imagine that makes things different although by reading And Laughter Fell from the Sky you see that even though the custom is there, sometimes it’s made to be broken for love.
I enjoyed this novel and it certainly kept me reading. My only complaint would be that I did not make any real connection with the characters. It could be that I’m not of the Indian culture but I don’t think so. I think it was more that I didn’t have anything in common with the way they thought or their actions at times. I did however find it very interesting to read of the different customs that other cultures have. As a Canadian we grow up very differently from the Indian culture. We choose our own mates and essentially do what we want on our way to being adults. I wonder quite often if marriages wouldn’t succeed more even here if they were arranged based on other things – things like success, family standing, etc., instead of on falling in love or sex. Do we as a culture jump into marriages too easily and too soon only to find ourselves divorced in a few years? I don’t know but it’s an excellent question to ponder as in India they don’t have a high divorce rate at all. I do believe you can build a strong marriage on friendship first but I’m still a sucker for love.
I read And Laughter Fell from the Sky by Jyotsna Sreenivasan for her book tour with TLC Book Tours. Be sure and stop by all the other tour stops to see what others thought of the book as well. You can find Rasika on her website, Facebook, and Twitter and be sure to pop into Book Club Girl on Air on Wednesday, July 18 at 7 pm ET as Jyotsna discusses And Laughter Fell From the Sky. Your own copy of the book can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada.
Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.