23/12/2008

Tiger, Tiger (by Galaxy Craze)

I have never heard of Galaxy Craze before. I wondered if her name was an unusual pseudonym, but apparently it is the author's real name.

I was sent her second novel 'Tiger, Tiger' by TheBookbag for review. I received it yesterday, read half of it last night, and finished it this morning. At a busy time of year. That's partly because it's quite a light, easy-to-read novel, and also partly because I found it quite compelling reading.

The story is told by the teenage May. Her brother Eden is six years younger than she is, but they have become quite close; possibly due to their parents' unpredictable relationship.

Their mother Lucy decides to take them to a Hindu style ashram community in California. They go for a fortnight, and their stay extends, apparently indefinitely. May doesn't like it at first. But then she becomes intimate with Sati, a rather manipulative girl. This could have been sordid, but somehow it wasn't; possibly because it's told from the perspective of relative innocence.

Everything changes when Sati's mother gives birth to a baby and decides to give the baby to Parvati, the spiritual leader of the ashram. Lucy has to make some difficult decisions, related to the overall theme about the balance of family life and spirituality. Seeing it from May's point of view rather than Lucy's own makes it all the more powerful. It almost feels at times as if May is the adult, and her volatile mother a child she finds frustrating, but loves dearly.

I gather that this is a sequel to the author's first novel, 'By the Shore', which explores May and Eden's parents' relationship more thoroughly. It's a tribute to the author that it didn't feel like a sequel; there were no dull flashbacks, no irrelevant characters who clearly had some other story elsewhere. Recommended to anyone wanting a light, yet thought-provoking read.

My longer review of Tiger, Tiger is here at the Bookbag site.

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