Not this time. Not in this telling. Not here. Not with sugar. Not so far as we are aware. No. The story of Sri Ramakrishna started with salt. Salt . . .
What I expected:
It was the description that enticed me! I expected something that was a bit different, with an Indian twist, to add a different edge, seeing as it was about an Indian guru.
What it was:
I will say here and now that, sadly, it did not meet my expectations. It was a mishmash of a supposed historical story, mixed in with fantastical scenes inserted into the rhetoric. I found it a very hard book to get into and, I ended up starting it three times in the end! Then, when I finally got started, it seemed to take an age to ‘just read’. I took the book up because of the book’s intriguing description, but found that it really was not for me. It turned out to be a book of ‘really random rot’! (My apologies to the author!) In parts, I found it repetitive in its narrative, and it jumped about, A LOT! There were parts that I think were meant to be light hearted, but which (by then) I just found irritating, for example the episode with the Indian swift ( Cypselus-affinis), which I found ridiculous in the main; I would say more, but I am very ‘anti-spoiler’. By the end, any affinity with characters had gone (if I had any to start with). I simply finished the book because I had been given a copy to review and my perceived obligation outweighed the need to just put the book down.
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.
2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)
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To the world he is Sri Ramakrishna – godly avatar, esteemed spiritual master, beloved guru. To Rani Rashmoni, he is the Brahmin fated to defy tradition. But to Hriday, his nephew and long-time caretaker, he is just Uncle – maddening, bewildering Uncle, prone to entering trances at the most inconvenient of times, known to form dangerous acts of self-effacement, who must be vigilantly safeguarded not only against jealous enemies but also against that most treasured yet insidious of sulphur-rich vegetables: the cauliflower.
Rather than puzzling the shards of history and legend together, Barker shatters the mirror again and rearranges the pieces. The result is a biographical novel viewed through a kaleidoscope. Dazzlingly inventive and brilliantly comic, irreverent and mischievous, The Cauliflower® delivers us into the divine playfulness of ‘one of the most exhilarating, audacious, and . . . ballsy writers of her generation’ (Observer).