Ross Monroe Is A Boxing Railwayman With A Weakness For Get Rich Quick Schemes Kate Lyle Is A Headstrong Young Woman Desperate To Escape A Nightmarish Household As Mid Century India Sheds Its Colonial Skin And The Shadow Of Violence Rises, These Young Lovers Find Themselves Facing Their Own Tryst With Destiny In Twenty First Century London, Owen Monroe Is Writing This Story Of His Parents Lives In An Effort To Avoid The Problems In His Own But Keeping Past And Present Apart Isn T Easy, And Before Long Owen Is Deep In The One Story He Never Wanted To Tell I picked out this book on the recommendation of the librarian when I asked for something different I m really not sure whether or not I liked this author s style or not He uses a lot of parentheticals and very long sentences, and it is sometimes difficult to keep track of what is going on But he does write very intelligently, so it s an interesting read.The story is two fold, of the alternating chapters variety The narrator is Owen, an Anglo Indian half English, half Indian from India living in London He is barely scraping by, writing pornographic novels under a pseudonym and teaching high school English to survive while working on his book, The Cheechee Papers His sections tell his story, that of love and lust, times spent with his promisciously homosexual roommate, his depression over losing the love of his life, and helping his father in the quest to find the man Skinner who screwed him over many, many years ago The Cheechee Papers Cheechee, it is explained, is a negative term for the Anglo Indians used back in India makes up the remaining chapters, and is the story of his father and mother growing up in India, his father s boxing career that was supposed to get them out of India when he went to the Olympics, and the tale of the aforementioned Skinner and how he screwed over the father It is the tale of his mother s abuse by her uncle and her secret plot to murder him It is the tale of how destiny brought his parents together in the strangest of circumstances, and the tale of how Skinner kept coming back and why the father kept believing him.The two tales intertwine at the end of the novel, when Owen finds the long lost Skinner, and deceives his daughter into allowing him to meet the old man He brings his father to the meeting, and the two old men talk about India and what happened, and well, obviously I m not telling you the rest But, at the end, even the reader is left unsure as to what really happened Very tricky interesting ending.What did I think of it Not entirely sure as I said, I haven t decided about whether or not I liked the author s style The story itself was interesting, I really felt like I got to know the characters, especially the father and son I certainly learned about India, and the era when they gained Independence from England in the 1940s I knew nothing about the country or the things that happened there, or the problems encountered by those people who were half English It was interesting, but I dunno As you can see by my rating, it was certainly not the best book I ever read. This book was a slow burner that gradually sucked me in Glen Duncan is at his strongest when he writes about people his characterisations are exquisite and his observations on human behaviours, feelings and interactions are as good as you ll find by anybody writing anywhere on the planet I am surprised that he s not widely known. Loved this book The India story grippedthe ever present feeling that the characters were one bad decision away from doom And I liked the characters, so this was tough The contemporary characters the son.less loveable, true But redeemed by his willingness to humour his parent, and by his final recognition that he should stop living for the past and embrace the presentincluding his unlikely love interest if she can forgive him his transgression Aren t we all sometimes guilty of overlooking the loveliness of what is..because we are harking back to what was, or comparing to an unrealistic image of perfection Other reviewers have objected to Duncan s sex writing I thought it was very well done and if you have had the misfortune to have read the 50 Shades of Grey waste of paper, you will immediately appreciate Duncan s realistic, honest, descriptions Let s face it, candy floss has no place in the bedroom I need to digest all the things that made me love this book, which, incidentally, are all the things that make Glen Duncan my favorite modern writer. Picked this one up again total x 3 and never could get past Chapter 4 I just got confused So it also goes off to paperbackswap.com where it already has someone waitig for it. The Bloodstone Papers is an intriguing story that tells the tale of a group of Anglo Indians The novel explores issues in India and England and this amazing group of people who descend from both cultures For me, this was not only an interesting read, but also rather educational Further, it introduced me to a writer with whom I was unfamiliar, Glen Duncan. Anglo Indian family it focuses on their story in partition years interspersed with 21st c London At times good at times tedious Disappointing. This is one of the books that I picked up from the library in a long overdue session of browsing through the shelves and picking up what looks interesting And to a certain extent it was interesting, but overall I feel pretty ho hum about it Knowing the risk I m taking by sounding once again like a bit of a prude if you ve read my reviews of The Game of Thrones series but this author is waaaaaay too obsessed with sex I understand that sexuality and eroticism is an important and integral part of adult life, but when it gets to the point where it s distracting and you feel like you re a paragraph away from a porn novel, I get fed up I mean, how important to the story is it that they did this move or he had this dirty thought or it reminded him of the time when he did this to himself, etc etc In this novel in particular, it was way too much That and taking into consideration the length of the book, it was about the main character s various sexual experiences rather than the story of his parents living life in India as Anglo Indians during the rebellious and life changing times of the 1940s the part that I was interested in I was however really engaged in the story of Kate Monroe and how she survived a terrible family life with ingenuity and bravery It s too bad that the rest of the novel wasn t written with the same type of focus and literary congeniality, or I think I would have enjoyed it. I know several people for whom a novel is just a story something to be distilled to its barest essentials and then ingested summarily To me, though, a novel is much than the sum of all its parts the plot, the characters, the language, the ambience A novel is something that you need to savor at leisure, rolling the words around in your tongue until you get all the last nuances of the prose, while still enjoying the storyline and empathizing with the characters.Glen Duncan s The Bloodstone Papers offers all of the above The novel is written in the first person and we hear the voice of the protagonist, a lecturer moonlighting as a porn novel writer and a bartender, in his late thirties who makes incisive observations on everything about life, including death The Bloodstone Papers follows the story of two main characters, Owen, an Anglo Indian in contemporary London who struggles with his identity, his one true love and his search for a direction in life and his father whose beginnings trace back to pre independence and newly independent India Pakistan The novel switches back and forth between Owen and his novel about his father as it tracks the loneliness of Owen and the bloodstone ring that his father lost to a con artist in India The contemporary part of the novel is the most resonating as that is where the author is in his elements Witness his commentary on aging and the tortured relationship that some children have with this fact about their parentsI shoulder my bag and begin to walk away, carrying the guilt of every grown up son from the beginning of time, the guilt of knowing it s my world, now, not theirs If they d been younger when they had me, there would have been a period me in my twenties, say, them in their mid forties when the world was ours, together.He distinguishes the voices of the past from the voices in the present with a single entity God While everything the principal characters in the past do is in some way related to their intense relationship with God, everything that the principal characters in the present do is influenced by their ambivalence towards, or denial of the existence of God.Although there is the underlying plot of finding the bloodstone ring and confronting the con artist, the novel is much than a whodunit It is about the fragmented lives of the protagonist and his family and friends It lingers on their feelings as much as it lingers on their actions Identity is a big issue across the generations in The Bloodstone Papers Ross Monroe in India is often cautioned by Anglo Indians as well as some Englishmen that once the English up and leave, they Anglo Indians will be in grave danger Owen in contemporary London denies ever wanting to be tagged as an Anglo Indian I don t know what it means to be Anglo Indian I don t care what it means to be an Anglo Indian.He insists But he does care He cares that they are too small a race to matter He cares that no one will believe them He cares enough to mention it as part of his personal ad in the Guardian Of all the identities that Owen Monroe takes on, his role as a porn writer seems to have the most influence on the entire narrative For this reason, the book may not be for everyone However, there is something about his prose that makes even the hard to take parts of the novel less repulsive.If there is anything that strikes a discordant note in the work it is that Glen Duncan s pre independence India simply does not ring true It is rife with western generalizations about India, and anachronistically, it is rife with contemporary western generalizations about India This is a bit of a let down, especially when you consider the level of understanding of, and empathy for, the human condition that you get to see throughout the book That said, it does not detract significantly from the experience that is this book India after all is not easy, even sometimes for Indians.The Bloodstone Papers is definitely something I would recommend for the prose, for its compassion towards people who are not exactly society s idea of success and for, strangely, its sadness However, this is probably not a book for the easily offended.
Saul Black.Glen Duncan is a British author born in 1965 in Bolton, Lancashire, England to an Anglo Indian family He studied philosophy and literature at the universities of Lancaster and Exeter In 1990 Duncan moved to London, where he worked as a bookseller for four years, writing in his spare time In 1994 he visited India with his father part roots odyssey, part research for a later work, The Bloodstone Papers before continuing on to the United States, where he spent several months travelling the country by Amtrak train, writing much of what would become his first novel, Hope, published to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 1997 Duncan lives in London Recently, his 2002 novel I, Lucifer has had the film rights purchased, with actors such as Ewan Mcgregor, Jason Brescia, Jude Law, Vin Diesel, and Daniel Craig all being considered for roles in the forthcoming movie from Wikipedia
- 405 pages
- The Bloodstone Papers
- Glen Duncan
- 06 December 2018 Glen Duncan