|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
After Indian Independence Arjun brings his family to London, but hopes of a better life rapidly dissipate. His wife Sunila spends all day longing for a nice tea service, his son suddenly hates anything Indian, and his daughter, well, that’s a whole other problem. As he struggles to enforce the values he grew up with, his family eagerly embraces the new. But when Arjun’s right leg suddenly fails him, his sense of imbalance is more than external. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he is forced to question his youthful impatience and careless cruelty to his family, until he learns, ultimately, to love them despite — or because of — their flaws.
In a series of tender and touching glimpses into the shared life of a married couple, Sandra Hunter creates strikingly sympathetic characters — ones that remind us of our own shortfalls, successes, hypocrisies, and humanity.
Losing Touch is a quiet novel about the Kulkani family. Originally from India, the family has emigrated to London and have settled into their new surroundings without much fuss. Well, except for the children's wishes to sever ties with India - they want to fit in and embrace British culture. Oh, and Arjun's wife, Sunila, who doesn't understand why women have to adhere to the husband's rules regarding money, housework, parenting, etc. - times are changing, women can manage their own monies and should be able to spend it on themselves (instead of giving all of their earnings to their husbands and getting in trouble if one pound is missing). As for Arjun, he just wants his family to remember where they came from and to mind him when he tells them what to do. Of course, life has other plans for Arjun and his family.
Told in two parts, each one focusing on a different time period (first part consists of the 1960s- 1970s and second part picks up in the 2000s), this story shows us the evolution of the Kulkani family as they grow up and apart in their new home country. It is also the story of a man's battle with a disease that robs him of his body and speech. Arjun's family has lost a few members to a degenerative neuro-muscular disease over the years and so he is aware that his recent symptoms are not a good omen. As we learn more about the Kulkanis, we see Arjun's body slowly lose control, function, and mobility. With each fall he takes, he is one step closer to being bedridden, but he ignores it. Arjun does not want to deal with his medical issues immediately, because he is scared to. So, instead he focuses on his family and what he considers to be their shortcomings. Arjun's relationship with his wife and children never really shines with love or compassion, which makes for a rather sad read. This family is disconnected from one another through misunderstandings, resentments, and past hurts. Nothing really manages to bring them together, except for the fact that they are related to one another. Frankly, I don't blame Arjun's family for keeping their distance. He is a lousy father and husband who appears to be befuddled by his kin, instead of in love with them. I have sympathy for his wife and children who seem to want their husband/father to just listen to them, to be there for them, to accept them, and to simply love them. Losing Touch was a frustrating read at times and I did find myself skimming pages, but overall it was a good book. I considered it to be an observational novel, instead of a (story)telling one - which is probably why I liked it more than I expected to.
I would recommend Losing Touch to fans of novels about families, culture clashes, and the immigrant experience. To find out what other bloggers have to say about this book, check out the TLC Book Tours schedule for: Losing Touch
I really liked this one a lot - the story of how the family each experienced being an immigrant differently really intrigued me.
Lisa, I did like how we were able to learn about everyone's own personal ideas regarding their lives in London and not just through the parents' eyes. I totally agree with you about that aspect of the novel :)
Thanks for being a part of the tour!
Heather, thanks for having me on the tour :)
I thoroughly enjoyed this rich, melancholy story. The characters were so vibrantly written I felt as if I knew them. I didn't want their journey to end. Sandra Hunter has such a unique way of describing the most painful moments with elegant poetic beauty. I'm recommending this to all of my friends.
In the spirit of dreams deferred, Arjun thinks, “And yet there are photos when they are all smiling. Perhaps it was just one moment, like a squash ball snatched off the side-wall, the moment just before or after the camera flash.” Sandra Hunter, already an accomplished short story writer, lingers on life’s other moments, moments that don’t involve posing and pretend-smiles, moments that make Losing Touch a memorable debut novel.
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