- Paperback: 508 pages
- Publisher: Penguin India (24 November 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143421301
- ISBN-13: 978-0143421306
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Socialite Evenings Paperback – 24 Nov 2014
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About the Author
Shobhaa Dé is one of India's top bestselling authors. All her thirteen books have topped the charts, and each of her titles continues to sell well even today. Her ten books with Penguin India - the novels Socialite Evenings, Starry Nights, Sultry Days, Sisters, Strange Obsession, Snapshots and Second Thoughts, two books of non-fiction (Surviving Men and Speedpost: Letters to My Children) and an autobiography (Selective Memory: Stories from My Life) have all been phenomenal bestsellers. Dé gave new definition to the mass market bestseller with her writing in the 1990s, and all her books have remained perennial favourites with readers over the years.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story is one of the earliest for the author - may be written at a time when she had not experienced many things in life.
The part where she talks of her middle class background is somewhat credible. Such a society does exist (at least did - about thirty years ago). There are references to the type of radio or the station that the father would listen to etc. This part must have come from experience.
The parts about how the rich live clearly rings hollow and lack depth. Most male characters (except may be her Father) are so one dimensional they couldn't possibly be of a real person. The husband comes across as zero dimensional.
Women are typically insecure or loose or both. Karuna is the only character that has some depth - that too because she is the narrator - albeit a self obsessed one.
There is heavy name dropping - Calvin Kleins, or Carrera sunglasses - which again shows the narrators urge to drop names and betrays her ignorance of how the well off really live (and equal ignorance that the rich may prefer Carrera cars but not the sunglasses). The super rich always live in posh localities - never a mention of things that go into their home.
There are parts of it that is purely funny especially when Karuna is bitchy to her friend Anjali.
Enjoy it for what it is - fiction/fantasy. Not a reflection of the times or mores.
But the most interesting thing about this book is how much I learned from it as an, admittedly very provincial, American. The poeple of India are very poorly represented in American media, I feel. It think many people in American still think of India as mostly populated with skeletal beggars brushing flies off their eyes with one hand while holding out a begging bowl with the other. This book was a total eye-opener in that respect. Karuna is a very savvy young woman. She is, if anything, too westernized. This book shows that affluent, well educated Indians are not in the least bit shy about moving around in western dominated culture and worldly affairs.
This book was really an amazing, eye opening experience for me. But that was largely due to the fact I am an American. But I would have given this book 5 stars, except the story is fairly flat, monotonous, and as I said above, somewhat unbelievable in it's extreme coldness. It is a fact of human namure that even the most self possessed and domineering person on the planet will still have a number of soft spots for people and things in their lives. The complete absence of any such tender humanity through long stretches of this book make it hard to swallow.
I am a Korean girl, and even to my North East-Asian eyes, India is a combination of vague & conflicting images, rather than a real country with living people.
This book is powerful to make readers to see India which we can't find in National Geographic or Lonley Planet.
Of course, the writer wrote mostly about the modern hish society of Bombay, but the variety of characters makes a certain harmony of the universe scale.
Well, I'd rather pick another Shobha De book(if she writes on) rather than <Bridget Diary sequels>