Love the Dark Days by Ira Mathur

Memoir and family history

This is Ira’s memoir and the story of her family.  Having been born in India, to family that once had been rich and powerful, her immediate family now appear disjointed and dysfunctional.  Ira’s story tells of her growing up in Bangalore in the 1970s, and the atmosphere and beauty of India.  She later continues her education in England and Canada, also living in London and Trinidad. 

It tells of the magnificence (but not necessarily happy) of the past lives of her wealthy relatives, and the difficulties of growing up in a disjointed family who no longer had the wealth they had been born to, and who seem to have fallen out with each other to varying degrees.  There were glimpses into both good and very difficult times of Ira’s life,  but I would have liked more depth of exploration of the events related.  This may be because there was so much information included within this one book, that by necessity the telling had to be brief.  

Interrupting the story, throughout the book, are accounts of a weekend the author spent with Sir Derek Walcott in St Lucia.  For me this distracted from the flow of Ira’s story.

Overall I found the book swung from totally wonderful, to my being confused as to who was who, and where this part of the story fitted in – perhaps reading a paper book, rather than via a Kindle,  would have been easier for me to refer back to check dates etc.   There were certainly plenty of dark days, and overall the story left me feeling rather sad for most of the characters contained within.  There are wonderful photos of  the main characters at the back of the book.

A memoir and family history that is packed full of glimpses into the lives of (more than)  3 generations of women in Ira’s family, and left me with a multitude of impressions but little certainty.

Set:  India, England, Trinidad, St Lucia

Publisher:  Peepal Tree Press Ltd

Published:  September 2022

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