Sphere Fiction 19th September 2019
‘It was just sex, Anj, it didn’t mean anything…’
When Anjali finds out that Jack, her boyfriend of ten years, has been cheating on her, it throws her world into chaos. Heartbroken, and living in the home they once shared (which she can no longer really afford), she rebounds with a series of flings that her traditional Sri Lankan mother would, mostly, totally disapprove of.
Aided and abetted by her good friend and boss, Anjali can embark on some adventures that she would never have had within her old relationship – and can think what she really wants.
Yet, she can no longer avoid her mother or Shanthi, her distant older sister, who seems to have a whole life that she doesn’t share with Anj. And so begins Anjali’s journey, one that will make her confront a past she has been desperate to forget.
But perhaps that past can also be the bridge to her future…
Firstly thank you very much to Stephanie at Sphere Fiction for sending me a copy of this book. A pleasing read that left me feeling happy. Anjali is a delightful character living in a western world while her mother maintains traditional cultural values. A common enough issue and one that can fracture families but this book explores the issue with sensitivity and tenderness. Anjali’s mother is outspoken and overbearing but oh so endearing, along with Shanthi, Anjali’s older sister I was very much taken with this family.
But really this is a story about love, for Anjali the betrayal by her love leaves her lost and lonely, however she embarks on a touching voyage of discovery, being open to those she meets and as the blurb suggest, embarking on a series of flings. A love of flowers weaves its way through the book. Anjali works as an assistant florist and the meaning of flowers and the changing of seasons provide a pretty backdrop, alongside a warm friendship with florist Clara.
Set predominantly in Bristol but including a difficult trip to Sri Lanka this book spans cultural divides and has themes of sexuality and love. Mental illness features and again this aspect of the story was very sensitively told, it came as no surprise to learn the author has a background in this field.
Told in the first person voice of Anjali, this is very much her story and one you have probably realised by now, that I liked a lot. A warm book that I think was beautifully told and regardless of the ending I think would have left me happy. Anjali was on a journey of discovery, finding herself following the loss of her relationship. A relatively quick read at just over 300 pages, although the chapters were fairly long this didn’t stop me finishing the book in a couple of days.
Published today and definitely recommended for anyone looking for a feel good read, which explores a number of issues relating to life today.
About the Author
Tanya Atapattu is a writer and doctor. She has worked in general medicine in Liverpool and London, as well as volunteering in Malawi. She now specialises in psychiatry. Outside of her medical career, writing is her passion. Tanya studied Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and has previously been longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition and Bath Novel Award. Tanya lives in Bristol with her partner and two children. Things My Mother Told Me is her first novel.