the next good book

Western Lane

By Chetna Maroo

8.5/10
(8.5/10)

150 pages

What’s it about?

This coming-of-age story is set in England and centers around the sport of Squash.  Gopi is just eleven-years-old when her mother dies.  She and her two sisters begin to spend more and more time on the courts with their father. It becomes apparent that Gopi has a talent for the game.  In this short novel we see how Gopi’s grief, isolation, and loneliness parallel her feelings on the squash court.

What did it make me think about?

How we all use what is available to us to work through grief.  “When you are on the court, in the middle of the game, in a way you are alone.  That is how it’s supposed to be. You are supposed to find your own way out. You have to find the shots and make the pace you need.  You have to hold the T.  No one can help you.”

Should I read it?

 This book is short, has beautiful prose, and the author is able to convey so much meaning with so few sentences.  I knew nothing about squash but loved reading the descriptions in this novel. I loved how the author explores so many complex issues- beyond Gopi’s grief. This novel reminds me a little of a Claire Keegan novel (which I love).  Very impressive debut by Chetna Maroo.  Can’t wait to read her next book.

Quote-

“There were three of us, all girls.  When Ma died, I was eleven, Khush was thirteen, Mona fifteen. We’d been playing squash and badminton twice a week ever since we were old enough to hold a racket, but it was nothing  like the regime that came after.  Mona said that all of it, the sprints and the ghosting and the three-hour drills, started when our aunt Ranjan told Pa that what we girls needed was exercise and discipline and Pa sat quiet and let her tell him what to do.”

What’s it about?

This coming-of-age story is set in England and centers around the sport of Squash.  Gopi is just eleven-years-old when her mother dies.  She and her two sisters begin to spend more and more time on the courts with their father. It becomes apparent that Gopi has a talent for the game.  In this short novel we see how Gopi’s grief, isolation, and loneliness parallel her feelings on the squash court.

What did it make me think about?

How we all use what is available to us to work through grief.  “When you are on the court, in the middle of the game, in a way you are alone.  That is how it’s supposed to be. You are supposed to find your own way out. You have to find the shots and make the pace you need.  You have to hold the T.  No one can help you.”

Should I read it?

 This book is short, has beautiful prose, and the author is able to convey so much meaning with so few sentences.  I knew nothing about squash but loved reading the descriptions in this novel. I loved how the author explores so many complex issues- beyond Gopi’s grief. This novel reminds me a little of a Claire Keegan novel (which I love).  Very impressive debut by Chetna Maroo.  Can’t wait to read her next book.

Quote-

“There were three of us, all girls.  When Ma died, I was eleven, Khush was thirteen, Mona fifteen. We’d been playing squash and badminton twice a week ever since we were old enough to hold a racket, but it was nothing  like the regime that came after.  Mona said that all of it, the sprints and the ghosting and the three-hour drills, started when our aunt Ranjan told Pa that what we girls needed was exercise and discipline and Pa sat quiet and let her tell him what to do.”

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