Book Reviews

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours." Alan Bennett

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Monday, 10 September 2012

Genie and Paul - Natasha Soobramanien



Genie and Paul is the debut novel from Natasha Soobramanien. Taking the French 18th Century classic ‘Paul et Virginie’ by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre as inspiration, the author has crafted a story about love of people and of places. It is May 2003, and a body is washed up on a beach on Rodrigues, the sister island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. Six weeks earlier, in March 2003, a tropical cyclone hit Rodrigues, and it wrought destruction. On the same night, in London, twenty-six-year-old Genie Lallan wakes up in hospital, having collapsed after a night in a club with her beloved brother Paul, who has now vanished. It seems that her more innocent nature has been tarnished in part by her drug-taking brother.

Through the numerous glimpses into their pasts as the story unfolds, we discover that Paul and Genie moved to Britain from Mauritius, and whilst Genie takes well to her new home, Paul just aches to be back in Mauritius.

The narrative is composed of three sections, relating first to Genie, then Paul, and finally them both. Within these sections, the stories from the present and the past, which recall various episodes in the lives of the two siblings, build to give the reader a fascinating, layered picture of them both, and of some of those around them. 

Often a character is asked by another to tell them their story, and I found this storytelling aspect a wonderful and particularly appealing element of this novel.

Genie and Paul reads like a fresh, original story of love, of shared memories and places that always feel like home to us. Soobramanien offers us a novel where the sense and evocation of place is key, and she writes with great insight as to how our bonds with those we are closest to shape our lives.

Published by Myriad Editions

Originally reviewed for We Love This Book
Thank you to them and to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel to read and review.


15 comments:

  1. LOVED your review Lins and once again, you've brought to my attention a novel I wouldn't now about. Thank you! x

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment Shaz. Good to spread the word x

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  2. I've never heard of this book but you've tempted me with your great review! It sounds like something I would really enjoy. Thanks!
    The Relentless Reader

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Jennifer, and for visiting my blog.

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  3. Intriguing book and review - had not heard of this before but you have piqued my interest.

    PS: Enjoy your reading tastes - new follower

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    1. Thanks Joanne for your comment and for following!

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  4. Sounds like a multi-layered and complex book about some interesting characters. It makes me wonder about all the connections going on that you mentioned in the review. Well done!

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    1. Thanks very much for visiting and commenting!

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  5. You find the best books! This sounds like a wonderful story and one I want to read. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment Barbara.

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  6. This sounds intriguing and I'm curious about the classic too. More books for the wishlist1

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  7. Sounds like a read with a bit of a difference. I like the sound of this but to be honest looking at the cover would probably have not even picked it up.

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  8. Hi Lindsay, your blog has been awarded the one lovely blog award. Please visit my blog http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/to see the details.
    Best wishes, Barbara.

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    1. Thank you so much for this lovely award Barbara. I am delighted to receive it. x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it :)