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The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal

(125 Posts)
whenim64 Fri 22-May-15 10:03:39

Thanks GNHQ. My copy has just arrived and it looks like a good, meaty book.

etheltbags1 Thu 04-Jun-15 15:58:55

who wrote this book as I will buy it.

matson Thu 04-Jun-15 16:06:11

Meera Syal wrote it.

whenim64 Thu 04-Jun-15 16:06:52

No idea ethel! grin

(Maybe a clue in the thread title?)

etheltbags1 Thu 04-Jun-15 16:13:54

lol, the name is in the thread title, silly me, must be going ga ga.

whenim64 Thu 04-Jun-15 16:18:41

grin made me giggle, ethel

chloe1984 Sun 07-Jun-15 16:27:26

Just finished this book which is not my usual type of read. I really enjoyed it and loved the descriptive passages however I did have to stop a couple of times and Google the food as it wasn't familiar to me. I really could believe in the characters and their various situations. My question would be is there another book in the planning around the families home and abroad and perhaps extending to the other ladies ' of a certain age' as I feel that there could be an interesting story there.

Quiltinggran Sun 07-Jun-15 21:08:36

I've just finished this book, having read it in a couple of days. I found it, for the most part, (the over long saga of the problem with the flat in India being the exception) a compelling read, bringing up lots of issues that I found interesting. I've never had any great desire to visit India but it's sparked an interest that may well mean I now have to add India to my list of places to visit.
I'd anticipated the ending from quite early on but had hoped I might have been wrong and the ending not quite so predictable. Despite that predictability, I found it a great read and will recommend it to friends - will even lend them my copy!! Many thanks, GNHQ, for the book.

mbody Mon 08-Jun-15 18:28:26

Just finished this book. A really good read, Meera really brought alive the problems faced by women in India and, indeed, other countries, whilst weaving a fascinating, thought provoking tale. I shall look for her other books now. Does Meera visit India often and have extended family there. Also do the ones in India treat her family in a similar manner to the book?

EllenMay Mon 08-Jun-15 19:04:54

I was really looking forward to this book as I had read and enjoyed Meera's previous two novels - and I was not disappointed! For me, this was a novel to be read slowly so as to savour her vivid descriptions of life in India and to understand the intricacies of the various sub-plots. She deals with a range of big issues like infertility, relationships, different cultures, poverty and domestic violence but still manages to inject a lot of humour into her writing and I found her characters to be so well written - ordinary people with both good and bad traits. I would highly recommend this book, although I recognise that it may not be to everyone's taste.

I have a few questions for Meera. Firstly, I would like to know what made her choose to write about surrogacy. I also wonder why she waited so long before writing her third novel. Finally, (if she doesn't mind answering three questions) which writers does she most admire and has she been influenced by any of them?

Many thanks, Meera, for an excellent thought-provoking read and to Gransnet for sending me the book.

emmasnan Tue 09-Jun-15 13:30:45

Thank you for the book, I really enjoyed reading it, the insight into the culture in India was very interesting and I now feel I want to know more.
There were small sections that didn't hold my attention but that may be down to me rather than the writing.

There is a lot of detail in this book and I would like to ask Meera how long did it take to write and research and what made you write a book on this subject?

geri Tue 09-Jun-15 15:59:36

I know Meera's early life in Britain was detailed in her first book - Anita and me -, I would like to ask her if this novel is based on any of her family or anyone known by her family?
And although she has children of her own, I also wonder if she would go as far as this if she badly wanted children herself and wasn't able to have them.
A good read, thanks again

Maggiemaybe Tue 09-Jun-15 20:39:10

I've just finished The House of Hidden Mothers and found it compelling reading. The characters were believable and most of them were likeable, especially the grandparents (unlike others I was intrigued by their battle for the stolen apartment and enjoyed the comparison to Jarndyce v Jarndyce). I found Tara irritating at first with her poor little rich girl attitude, but she certainly grew up quickly as the story moved on and she was given a lot more to worry about than the plans of her embarrassing parents. I was looking forward to the surprising twist at the end that others have mentioned, but was disappointed as I'd sort of expected a twist from the obvious, if that makes sense confused. The book finished much as I expected it to, but yes, like others I appreciated the little touch at the end when glimpses of the characters' futures were given.

I would like to ask Meera whether she could see herself playing the central character in a film adaptation of the book? I certainly could.

Thank you again to Meera and Gransnet for such an entertaining read. smile

sedgwick20 Thu 11-Jun-15 19:27:41

Many thanks for Meera Syal's book, really looking forward to reading it.

baubles Thu 11-Jun-15 22:14:15

This was a most enjoyable read. I was hooked from the off, the descriptions of Indian people by Europeans who had holidayed in India was very funny. I swear I've heard those self same gushing expressions in real life.

There weren't any surprises in the plot other than how widespread the practice of commandeering other people's property appears to be. If it is to be made into a film I hope the screenplay retains a little grittiness, I think it would be too easy to make a rather fluffy film. (That's a technical term btw).

glammanana Fri 12-Jun-15 09:23:01

I have just finished reading this enjoyable book you can certainly pick up the authors sense of humour throughout the book,I would love to see it made into a film with the author taking a leading part.Sorry for such a short revue.

Matella Fri 12-Jun-15 12:32:35

I gave my review earlier but now some questions for Meera. Are there really surrogate clinics in India? How did you research the problems faced by Indian women as I know you did not grow up in India and that your parents had a very different outlook on life. Well done Meera.

teabagwoman Fri 12-Jun-15 13:23:54

I enjoyed this book. I felt that she created characters that were believable ( I especially liked Tara) and a good sense of place. She wove together serious themes - surrogacy, late parenthood, love and friendship, our inability to know how another person is really feeling, identity and the violence done to women in a book that was both tender and very funny. I would be interested to know how Meera Syal researched the surrogacy issue.

Grannycupcake Fri 12-Jun-15 13:53:48

Thank you for my copy of the book. I am enjoying it immensely. I am to a point in it where I am sure everything is going to go wrong.

Grannyknot Sat 13-Jun-15 06:07:56

Hi Meera, I read somewhere that this book is being made into a three part miniseries for television - is this so, please? And if the main characters have been cast - can you say who they are?

Pittcity Sat 13-Jun-15 10:36:11

Just watched Meera on Saturday kitchen. I wonder if James Martin's meringues were really as fabulous as they looked?

whenim64 Sat 13-Jun-15 11:15:22

I read Meera's book in no time at all - couldn't put it down. I'll be watching out for the TV film. I could see Meera in the leading role, too. I found the insights into Indian culture and bureacracy very interesting - the wrangles over that apartment fascinated me. I appreciated the way Indian surrogacy for western wannabe parents was shown in the round - exploitation was clearly an issue but introduced in a way that didn't sensationalise either surrogacy or the desperation of infertile couples.

Can I ask Meera - after rather a long gap between this and your last novel, what was it about the subject of surrogacy that made you decide to write this book?

hopstone Sat 13-Jun-15 18:01:03

Many thanks for my copy of The House of Hidden Mothers.

Annie29 Sun 14-Jun-15 22:21:48

I really enjoyed reading this book.
It was very descriptive and infomative about life in India.
I would like to ask meera if she found the research for the book difficult, as surrogacy is a very private subject and how easy was it to get information on family life in India.
Thank you Gransnet for a great read

rosered Mon 15-Jun-15 15:00:41

I also loved the book but found the parents' story heartbreaking. Very well-written which is why I got so sucked into it but the cruelty of the wider family was just horrendous. I would like to ask Meera whether such property disputes are common place and whether there really is nothing you can do even if you are in the right. I felt so sad for the couple that you have painted so vividly and wondered if their story was based on one you knew of in reality.

Andrews Mon 15-Jun-15 15:05:40

Thank you Gransnet and Penguin Random House for this wonderful book, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
This is the story of two very different women living completely different lives. The central character is Shyama who is living with a much younger man, Toby. They want to have a child together but because of her age and declining fertility, she is unable to conceive. They decide to find a surrogate in India. Mala is an unlucky, unloved young woman who is selected for the role, and once pregnant, is brought over to London to live with Shyama and Toby.
Meanwhile, there are several other sub-plots running through the book to add further interest to the story. Shyama's teenage daughter is having a few problems of her own; and her aging parents are in a property dispute in India.
Meera Syal discusses many emotional and heart-wrenching topics in this book, and I love how she is able to straddle the cultures of both Britain and India. She writes knowledgeably and perceptively about both. Through her novel, she is able to highlight the plight and treatment of Indian women living in both societies.
I would not hesitate to recommend this book to my friends.