Thursday, June 30

Book Review: The Zigzag Way

Title: The Zigzag Way

Author: Anita Desai

Pages: 179

Summary: Unfamiliar land. Eric, a young American historian, has come to Mexico on his first trip abroad. His search for his immigrant family’s roots brings him to a town in the Sierrra Madre, where a hundred years earlier Cornish miners toiled without relief. Here the suspiciously enigmatic Dona Vera, the fierce Austrian widow of a mining baron, has become a local legend, but her reputation for philanthropy glosses over a darker history. A haunting, powerful novel that culminates on the Day of the Dead, The Zigzag Way examines the subtle interplay between past and present.

Anita Desai is the author of many acclaimed works of fiction, including Baumgartner’s Bombay, Clear Light of Day, Diamond Dust, and Fasting, Feasting, among other works. Three of her novels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. A professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she now lives in New York.

My Rating: 6.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the cultural look of Mexico and the general idea behind the story, the story didn't work for me, something was missing to bring it all together to make it a fantastic one.

The author did a fantastic job at creating the setting, you were able to taste the food, smell the scents and see the land around you. I was easily able to picture the whole setting in my head. I also thought the story was a good idea - the search for identity, in an ancestral village was a good idea - but they way it was laid out didn't make it very believable for me. I felt the emotion, and the drive was at times lacking and other times forced. The idea behind it was good, but how it was executed didn't work.

The characters were just that. Didn't like or dislike them, they were just pieces of the book for me to help further it along.

Overall, not a bad book, I'd likely read the author again - and for a book that was randomly picked for me for a reading challenge, it worked out better than I thought.

Would I recommend it to read: Undecided - has some good qualities, but not high on the list.

What to read next: I think try to read more books by the author, but other than that I'm not sure.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Global Reading Challenge, Take a Chance III Challenge


  1. I have heard goof things about Fasting, Feasting, and have wanted to read it fr sometime now. This book sounds like it might be interesting, but that it also has some significant issues. The plot does intrigue, but the fact that the characters didn't really move you and the action at times seemed force is something that would probably annoy me as well. I am glad that it was not a total loss for you, but I will probably be skipping this one. There are just too many books out there to waste time on the lackluster ones, you know what I mean? Thanks for the honest and forthright review, Jules!

  2. Zibilee - I've never heard of the author, but a lot of people and resources say that Fasting, Feasting is a good book to read - so maybe this book was a fluke? Don't know. You're right, too many books to waste time on some of the lesser ones :)