21 Followers
21 Following
DubaiReader

DubaiReader

Currently reading

Death Stalks Kettle Street
John Bowen

Surrogacy in India.

The House of Hidden Mothers - Meera Syal

I wasn't aware that surrogacy was big business in India, so this book was quite enlightening. However, although it's called The House of Hidden Mothers, we actually barely enter that house and a large part of the narrative occurs in the UK, which seemed a bit 'off-topic'.
Other characters do spend a fair bit of time in India though, and the battle to repossess the grandparents' house was unbelievably tied up with bribery and corruption, which reminded me of a book I read recently: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.

Shyama, an Indian living in UK, has a teenage daughter, Tara, from her first marriage, but is desperate to have a child with her younger partner, Toby. As she is unable to conceive, they decide to go to India and find a surrogate mother. The child is to have Toby's genes, and an egg from a donor. Mala, an impoverished village girl, is paid to carry the child for them and to do so, she must leave her village and stay in the Mothers' House.
If the story had revolved around life in the Mothers' House as we are led to expect, I think I would have enjoyed this more, but the fact that Mala travels back to the UK with Shyama and Toby just didn't ring true and I found this a less than convincing plot line, with an ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.

Towards the end there is a third thread that involves Tara becoming involved in womens' rights in a newly aware India. Although interesting, this did seem a bit unnecessary to the plot.
And why do Indian writers have to use so many Indian words, which readers in English are going to find largely unintelligible?

A reasonably enjoyable read, but recommended with reservations.