Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes MOBI ↠ Jana

Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes In the first of a charming series we meet Jana Bibi who has inherited her grandfather’s house in an idyllic hill station in India Casting aside the conventions of her upper crust upbringing Jana Bibi moves with her chatty parrot Mr Ganguly and her loyal housekeeper Mary to a town where the local merchants are philosophers the chief of police is a tyrant and a bagpipe playing Gurkha keeps wild monkeys at bay Settling in Jana meets the town’s colorful local characters who gather at the Why Not tea shop—her neighbour the contemplative darzi who struggles with his business and family; former college friends now respectively shopkeeper whose shop is bursting at the seams with objects of unknown provenance and newspaper editor who burns the midnight oil at his printing press; a tyrannical head of police who rules the village with an iron hand; and the the young man with a golden voice who wants to be a singer in the movies When word gets out that the small town is in danger of being flooded by a new government dam forcing everyone to move and start over Jana is enlisted to save the community Will Hamara Nagar survive With some luck and Mr Ganguly the fortune telling parrot fate may be on their side 35 starsI actually ended up liking this book than I had made up my mind to halfway through it I had picked it up randomly at some or the other Book Fair and never got around to reading it except for during this winter break when I seem to have adeuate leisure reading time At the end of it I find myself glad to have picked up this light hearted often rather silly and endearing readThe plot itself was episodic with a few sustained strands running through; but primarily the action of the novel was focused on these dispersed adventures the cast of wacky characters Jana Bibi encounters in the small town have Some character constructions were somewhat weak and stereotypical I felt especially Lal Bahadur Pun and some were stronger with development Jana herself Feroze Zohra Moustapha perhaps even Ramchandran The subplots were often interesting and though in some parts it got slow a bit boring and a bit ridiculous the ending had some poignant and uplifting moments More than the writing itself I enjoyed the construction and contextualisation of the worldI was pleasantly surprised to find less if not no fetishisation and romanticisation of India and small towns here than I had expected from a European author writing about a European woman in post independence India There are ways in which Woodman foregrounds some relevant historical issues and narratives and contextualises the story with unexpectedly detailed knowledge about socio cultural life in lower Himalayan India and the 1960s in India Although at some points it felt a bit superficial I did have fun recognising that the author has done her research well enough and in some measure engaged with the community she sought to tell the story ofI found myself surprised at the planned series but it made sense seeing how Woodman deliberately leaves many strands of the story open ended and uestions unanswered Although I won't immediately get into the seuels I wouldn't mind reading them at a later point when I'm in the mood for something light and fun and occasionally thoughtful Rating 3 of five The Book Description Meet Jana Bibi a Scottish woman helping to save the small town in India she has grown to call home and the oddball characters she considers familyJanet Laird's life changed the day she inherited her grandfather's house in a faraway Indian hill station Ignoring her son's arguments to come grow old in their family castle in Scotland she moves with her chatty parrot Mr Ganguly and her loyal housekeeper Mary to Hamara Nagar where local merchants are philosophers the chief of police is a tyrant and a bagpipe playing Gurkha keeps the wild monkeys at bay Settling in Jana Bibi as she comes to be known meets her colorful local neighbors—Feroze Ali Khan of Royal Tailors who struggles with his business and family VK Ramachandran whose Treasure Emporium is bursting at the seams with objects of unknown provenance and Rambir editor of the local newspaper who burns the midnight oil at his printing press When word gets out that the town is in danger of being drowned by a government dam Jana is enlisted to help put it on the map Hoping to attract tourists with promises of good things to come she stacks her deck of cards readies her fine feathered assistant—and Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes is born My Review It's just fine Fine and dandy and pleasant and nice and it's got interesting features and is kind to puppies and kittiesIt's the nice guy your friends set you up with who talks about ordinary stuff in a pleasant voice and when he moves in for a goodnight kiss you can't think of a reason not to let it happen but when the door closes you can't remember his name Or anything else about himwas he wearing khakis or a tux? DunnoDo you need that book right now? Here it is And goodness knows most of us need that kind of book once in a while “Farb” a friend of mine calls them This book is perfect farb the pinnacle of farbosity the paradigm by which farbaceousness is measuredI don't remember one single thing about it except when Janet aka Jana Bibi married the missionary as a young woman I wanted to slap her into next week for being so stupid And I was right Oh and the description of smallpox is awful just awful And that as they say is me what about you? I do not remember how this book got my to read list and when I spotted it in the library I did not have great expectations out of it It surprised me The book is like watching a soap based in India drama humor and great characters Set in the post independent India this book took me to part of India I am not familiar with the westerners who came to India and stayed back It is uite interesting to see India through their eyesA perfect weekendvacation read I don't know how to describe this book I liked it but it was one that had to grow on me as I read I was not instantly smitten The characters were colorful but the things happening to them never seemed to truly challenge them and difficulties were solved easily almost unbelievably so actually The characters felt plausible and their world felt plausible but the neat and easy way it all worked out made this overall story fall a little bit short for me I may read the next Jana Bibi book but then again I may not I did love Mr Ganguly though

  • Paperback
  • Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes
  • Betsy Woodman
  • English
  • 19 December 2016

About the Author: Betsy Woodman

Betsy Woodman spent ten formative years in India and studied in France and Zambia A graduate of Smith College she earned a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Brandeis University She has edited history books and been a freuent book reviewer and was a writereditor for Experiencing War the award winning radio documentary series for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project Her intere

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