Book Review: WITHOUT SHAME by Katherine Russell

withoutshame, katherinerussell, randombytes, lovestory, fictional novel

Without Shame is a different kind of a love story – Love for one’s own culture, religion, and beliefs. It’s about realizing and recognizing the importance of one’s identity and giving it the utmost priority over all external forces.

This book, Without Shame is Katherine Russell’s debut novel and it is surprising to say that although she is based in New York, she has done much justice with the narration of the story and describing the scenes related to the IndoPak subcontinent, reflecting strongly their culture and traditions.

About the Story:

It is the year 1968 and the plot revolves around a young woman, Sariyah who falls for a foreigner, Rodney Creed who has come to teach english to the locals. It begins with a mere friendship between the two, that leads to stronger feelings for each other as the story evolves. Both learn a lesson the hard way as they learn to value their own culture and beliefs and to prioritize them before anything that comes in their way of life.

All the time, Sariyah yearns to practice to be a “woman with shame” and she struggles with her own conscience, as well as the demands and thoughts of her family members.  Like every other typical minded father, Sariyah’s father too wants her to get married at the right age whereas she herself wants to join in the movement to attain freedom and work for achieving liberal rights for the people of Bengal.

An example of fine character, Sajib has been introduced in the story as the uncle of Sariyah who is shown to be the only man with education and wisdom among so many in the entire village. He is the intermediary character who plays an important role in carrying out the plot of the story, whilst narrating his feelings for the times before Bangladesh was declared independent.

katherinerussell, fiction story, bangladesh, lovestory, novelWhat did I like about the book Without Shame?

The best part of this book is the description of the entire village, its surroundings, conditions, and most importantly, its people. The way the people lived, thought and behaved then, in the Bangladeshi subcontinent and what they had gone through, has been narrated quite thoroughly and the imagery has been done vividly, making the scene flash into mind as if these scenes were happening for real.

Another thing that I really appreciated about this book is the way a daughter’s love for her mother is deemed as infinite; an unending, an unceasing love that continues to reflect even after the mother is no more! Sariyah remembers and quotes her mother at each and every step in her life, showing her affection for her late mother.

Read More: Book Review for “Brick Walls” by Saadia Faruqi

Final Comments:

The book Without Shame is based on a love story where the central characters prefer to chose their own ways because of culture and religion differences. Culture goes hand in hand with religion, and religion is there in this book – some Bengali Mysticism involved with Sufism. Since this is a literature book and a fictional story where all characters and the plot of the story are based on the writer’s own intuition, the readers must read the book keeping in mind that the story does not in any ways teach us about this religion. It only serves to entertain us and give us a peek into the lives of people living then.

Overall, the book and its story line are quite interesting and with the rich imagery and weather elements, it kept me attached to it till the end. I would give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 and I highly recommend it to all of you out there. 

Publisher’s Details:

This book is scheduled to be published in October, 2015 by FB Publishing House based in UK. Availability and price of the book will be known later.

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