Book Review: Or Forever Hold Your Peace by Donna Abraham
Or Forever Hold Your Peace by Donna Abraham is a simple tale of 27-year-old Malayali SMRC Catholic girl and her attempts at finding a Mr. Right. The unnamed protagonist-cum-narrator tells us her experiences with the customs around arranged marriages, with special reference to Kerala and the Christian community.
The story contains a lot of information about the wedding formalities in a typical SMRC family. It also included a lot of Malayali ideology surrounding wedding. It was all familiar to me and was quite my home turf.
However, the reading was bland because of the lack of dialogues. The entire narration, as well as the protagonist, was completely passive and impassionate. I could not entirely sympathise with either the situations or the lead characters. Zaka and Aryan’s characters are unidimensional — I couldn’t even imagine them as fully developed characters, but more as stereotypes. Even the protagonist’s mother and Zaka’s mother hardly had any individuality. The protagonist’s father, however, did come out as a decently fleshed-out character.
I thought it was weird to have a protagonist without a name. But then again, it could have been any woman, living the conventional life of a Malayali Syro Malabar Roman Catholic, with its traditions and customs and orthodoxy.
Certain threads are left unfinished. Why did the author have to put in juicy questions about Zaka and his mother’s Kerala visits and property sale if she had no intention of telling us about it eventually? The weirdest part, though, was the ending. It was so abrupt that until the penultimate paragraph I was wondering how the story could end.
I finished the book in less than a day, and I can’t say I enjoyed it.
Note: I received this book as part of the Tornado Giveaway by The Book Club.