Some books just catch you in their net of stories and once you are in, it is very hard to convince yourself to return to the everyday reality. Even if your reality is made of many other bookish stories.
There is something special about the Black Taj, and it is not only the good storytelling art of the author. The love story between two people belonging to different religions is predictable and at a great extent, except some moments of high tensions, the happy ending is too. The story it is placed one year after the destruction of a mosque in Uttar Pradesh by Hindu activists, which reignited old inimities and resentments between the two communities.
For me, as a historian and someone passionate about culture and religious clashes, the insertion of the Indian partition story into the narrative was, by far, the most fascinating part of the novel. The open or more discrete ways in which a decade-old historical trauma is still present into the everyday life were very well, and realistically represented. The same about the daily life in the Indian countryside, where strong traditions - and prejudices too - and precarious health conditions are more specific than the glamour we are used to see in the glossy reviews or the Bollywood shows. In my opinion, the real India you are introduced to in Black Taj is much easier to fall in love with.
I recommend this book to everyone interested to meet India and its beautiful stories, even some of them might be difficult to understand at the first sight.
Rating: 3 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange of an honest review