Foolish lessons in life and love is the hugely entertaining debut from author Penny Rudge. Its hero, Taras, is a Bukovinian young man, living with his mother in a flat in South London, working through a perpetual hangover in his job at the ill-named firm IBS for which he works, and trying desperately to regain the attentions and affections of his ex-girlfriend, the Russian Katya. Wonderfully observed, the characters leap off the page, especially his overprotective mother who dishes up Balkan breakfasts, scrutinises his bowel habits and resurrects all the previous years birthday cards on his birthday. Taras himself is certainly not a traditional hero - he makes too many mistakes, gets drunk too many times and isn't enough of a success, but he is extremely loveable. The story follows Taras as a dark family secret comes to light and he tries to work his way through.
I looked on Amazon and all of the 13 reviews give it 5* - I definitely agree and look forward to seeing more from Penny Rudge in due course. Absolutely hilarious!
Having hugely enjoyed Farahad Zama's book The marriage bureau for rich people last year, I was very excited when he wrote a follow up - The many conditions of love. The marriage bureau for rich people tells the story of the agency set up by Mr Ali, in modern day India, to match couples for arranged marriages. The many conditions of love continues this story - the bureau is now flourishing and we meet many of the same characters. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first book, partly because it was very much more of the same, but it was a warm and entertaining picture of Indian life and customs with likeable characters and not too much effort required to read.
Thanks to Victoria from Abacus for kindly sending me both of these books to review!
I love books, baking and my boyfriend, and love to write about the first two. I particular love "forgotten" books, books brought out of obscurity by republication and those still languishing in obscurity. I'm currently reading my way through all of the Virago Modern Classics, but taking in other books along the way.