Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon

Book Review #547

Title: Fragile Monsters

Author: Catherine Menon

Publisher: Viking

Genre: Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

Source: Times Reads

Publication Date: April 8, 2021

Pages: 256

A SPELLBINDING DEBUT NOVEL SET BETWEEN WW2 AND CONTEMPORARY MALAYSIA

Mary is a difficult grandmother for Durga to love. She is sharp-tongued and ferocious, with more demons than there are lines on her palms. When Durga visits her in rural Malaysia, she only wants to endure Mary, and the dark memories home brings, for as long as it takes to escape.

But a reckoning is coming. Stuck together in in the rising heat, both women must untangle the truth from the myth of their family’s past.What happened to Durga’s mother after she gave birth? Why did so many of their family members disappear during the war? And who is to blame for the childhood tragedy that haunts her to this day?

In her stunning debut novel Catherine Menon traces one family’s story from 1920 to the present, unravelling a thrilling tale of love, betrayal and redemption against the backdrop of natural disasters and fallen empires. Written in vivid technicolour, with an electric daughter-grandmother relationship at its heart, Fragile Monsters explores what happens when secrets fester through the generations.

As they will learn, in a place ravaged by floods, it is only a matter of time before the bones of the past emerge. 

Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon is a story that goes from the past to the present revolving around Durga’s family. This book is slow paced and draggy that I was hoping for more but unfortunately that’s all there is to this story that is full of hidden secrets and mysterious discoveries.

This book goes back and forth to the past, about Durga’s ammuma or grandmother and her life as she grew up in the brink of war, best friends rivalry and her experiences growing up until she had a daughter of her own. As for Durga, I’m not exactly sure what her story is about just that she had to stay with her grandmother who got sick. It keeps going back and forth that I just get what the author is trying to convey to the readers.

Honestly, I just didn’t find any significance to this story. I really tried my best to get into this story but it just keeps going downfall and quite disappointing as well. It just feels like a poorly plotted story and the premise sure sounds interesting but the execution needs a bit more work. I couldn’t see where its going and its pretty messy.

All in all, I did get a glimpse of what it feels to live during the period of 1922-1985 though nothing much happened except for the lives around Durga and Mary’s family. I don’t think I would recommend you to read this book as I didn’t enjoy it as much and can be so much better but if you’d still like to go ahead, then be my guest.

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