The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay is a stunning novel that reads like an amazing memoir, illustrating how we carry our mothers with us.
Shalini, the narrator can’t seem to shake, or outdrink, or out think her dead mother. The mother, whose death is a mystery until near the end, shapes the narrative in many evocative ways as it carries the reader through the steep mountain sides of the Kashmiri region of India on an unforgettable, and possibly unredeemable, journey.
I find myself taking notes, marking passages, returning and rereading to see how such a young author pulled off this feat in her first book. This is the type of book writers study. It is the kind of novel I will read again, as much for the story as the writing. Actually the story feels deeply sad and very real, as if I’m experiencing it as it unfolds; it is no small task to bring a dead mother vividly to life in words.
This is what I’m attempting to do in memoir, the daughter of a manic, Arabian horse-loving mother, and the mother of three daughters, all born in different decades. Mania may skip a generation, but it is sure to find its mark, landing on a daughter, rather than flying away in the night when the mother takes her final flight. More to come…