THE WAY WE ARE: BOOK REVIEW
Having published two memorable anthologies Voices In The Verandah and The Way We Were, CTR Publishing continues with their winning formula in this third offering of stories that enrich our Community. The editors Lionel Lumb & Debbie Van Veldhuizen have created a richly layered book comprised of anecdotes both sad and joyful, insightful yet entertaining. The book is star studded throughout with illuminating stories of childhood in India, to hardships and successes of lives lived in foreign lands.
I particularly liked the way the book was divided. There are 4 sections: Passages, Identities, Traditions and Reflections. The fluidity of each section keeps you thoroughly interested and focused throughout the book, but nothing prepares the reader for what really happens and how, and there lies the journey.
Unfortunately, I cannot go into each Author's contribution, suffice it is to say every story had a poignancy which is heartwarming and insightful. I have randomly chosen stories to hint at the amazing talents of our Anglo-Indian writers. This book rejoices in the inner strength and endurance that Anglo-Indians possess.
PASSAGES begins with Moira Breen's pioneering spirit in the story Never Give In a true example of "self-empowerment". She instantly became my hero with her tale of living the American dream during the 1950's. Moira gives us much to admire in her story and her achievements.
Margaret Deefholts never disappoints; there is always a poignant memory to find amongst her souvenirs! A Passage to Canada takes us back to the heart-wrenching time of saying goodbye to old friends and family, and beginning a new chapter in Canada.
Lionel Lumb's Denial & Pride takes the reader on his personal journey from early Lahore-days of being cosseted, to the rude awakening of life in Calcutta. Never giving in or giving up paid off well, and his story of success goes from strength to strength, as he "developed from an Anglo-Indian with a modest interest in his heritage to one who really cared".
IDENTITIES is a collection of stories on what it means to be a part of our Community, whether we were born in India, remembered India as a youngster, or only visited our "homeland" as an adult.
Inheriting Remembrance by Susan Deefholts spoke to my heart. I also remembered ...."All the details - the backdrops of railway colonies, alfresco dances, hill stations, and boarding schools - these are my inherited memories now carefully stored away in rooms of my own."
Unravelling The Mosaic by Sheldon Fernandez shows us the Community, seen through the eyes of someone going home for the first time. As Sheldon points out ..."wisdom is truly timeless and the young will rediscover it through the memory of example and the plain pains of time. We will teach our children to respect their elders because one day we, too,will bear the wrinkles of acknowledged wisdom".
TRADITIONS - Has an eclectic group of stories. There is no denying that Anglo-Indians have built their lives on the traditions handed down through generations. We cling to these for denying it would bring a sense of betrayal into our lives.
Patricia Brown's February is a deeply moving story about the passing of a friend, someone whom you have known since girlhood, someone you grew into womanhood with, the one person you could go to when you both immigrated to a new country and things were so strange. Anglo-Indian traditions kept this friendship strong.
The Authors— what an amazing cast of writers this book has—all had the courage to keep their endings honest, as in all our lives, not every loose end is left neatly tied.
I found The Way We Are a fine-balanced blend of compelling characters, charismatic writing and spellbinding stories. I am sure that TWWA will keep readers of Anglo-Indian literature well and truly entertained, beginning to end.
You may place orders through Blair Williams' website: http://www.blairrw.org/ctr/index.php. Or you can contact Lionel Lumb by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Blair Williams by e-mail at:email@example.com to purchase copies.
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