Historical fiction

China Room by Sunjeev Sahota

57958029. sy475

I thought about why I felt the way I did about the book and how to put it into words. I hope that the time of introspection comes through here. I picked this book mostly because I read woefully few books based in my own home country. I wanted to read something that promised a juxtaposing of two different timelines around one location.
The problem then comes with the dual timeline. I would have preferred one timeline focused upon since I found it hard to emotionally invest in both the different people and times we encounter here. There were pockets of interactions or descriptions provided that were deep and involved, and it is only because of these moments that I actually completed the book. Otherwise, it was not for me.
The stifling conditions in both timelines, as well as the nuanced background, had a lot more potential than was explored here. Most of the focus was on hormonal reactions and that too at surface levels (or so it felt).
In the (relatively) present timeline, we have a boy sent to India in disgrace to cope with withdrawal from drug use. He is forced to stay in a rural location which is the scene of an old family scandal. The scandal is both publicly known and also a secret, with us being given the scene by scene events that led to the eventual issue.
Certain other reviewers online have gone into further detail about some of the more technical cultural discrepancies that I could not really put into words other than having a vague feeling of discomfort when I encountered them.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

2 thoughts on “China Room by Sunjeev Sahota”

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