Thursday, December 4, 2014

#100 : Swans Are Fat Too by Michelle Granas: A Review


BOOK TITLE: Swans Are Fat Too
AUTHOR: Michelle Granas
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
FORMAT: Digital
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Requested a review copy and the writer obliged. Thank you Michelle!

Natalia Lanska, formidable Polish pianist, is dead. No one is really sorrowing, except maybe her granddaughter Hania, whose own career as a concert artist never took off due to a terrible weight problem. Feeling unwanted, Hania arrives in Warsaw for the funeral hoping for a warm welcome from her relatives. Instead, they saddle her with their appalling children, decamp, and refuse to return. Hania’s situation is at first improved and then complicated when a neighbor--the very correct, very austere descendant of an old Polish family--asks her to proofread an amateur history project. Hania sets to work with a will, and Pan Doctor Prince Konstanty Radzimoyski is surprised when his ideas get more editing than he bargained for. Typing pages of the past, rediscovering her native city, and playing the piano all contribute to taking Hania’s mind off her problems, but can’t change her awareness that the children need help and that her growing attachment to her employer will only give her pain. The summer Hania spends between love, hostility, and the weight of history tests her resourcefulness, but her fresh ideas and readiness to carry on brighten the lives of her new acquaintances. Still, no one, least of all Hania herself, expects that her beautiful qualities will make Konstanty forget her figure and other excess baggage. 

This book contains a history of Poland in a nutshell and is about seeing beyond the conventions

The protagonist, Hania is an "healthy" ex-pianist who arrives in her homeland, Poland to attend the funeral of her Grandmother. Fate has other plans for her for her uncle has left his kids alone in his house thereby forcing Hania to baby sit them. Hania adapts to the situation and takes care of the kids until her uncle returns. Along the way she meets the much eligible bachelor Konstanty who happens to be a doctor by profession. Konstanty is on a project to write some history articles for his sister. He offers Hania the job of editing the articles he wrote for Hania is in search for a temporary job in Warsaw to keep her occupied. They find love in-spite of Hania's Excess Baggage. 

The writer taught me a good bit of Poland's history and architecture through Konstanty's history articles. It is apparent that the writer has done a good research. The whole Hania-Konstanty's courtship was written beautifully. It is very heart warming to read a tale where a man actually falls for a woman for her heart and intellect. Beauty plays more than a vital role in relationship, to look beyond beauty it takes immense maturity.The writer managed to drive home this point. 

The characterization was bang on. I loved Hania's characterization. In Spite of being overweight and clumsy she is confident in subtle ways and handles offensive comments patiently. Her character is an inspiration to people with low self esteem. The other thing that Hania taught me was patience. I don't think I would be as patient as Hania when she handled those kids.

The narration was perfect with an equal balance of emotions. The one thing that I loved was the wry humor.Not many writers attempt that owing to its very nature, but this writer managed to get it right. 

There are a couple of things that could have been handled better - The history articles and Teen pregnancy. The history articles sort of pulled down the narration midway. They could have been accompanied by pictures or may be could have been written in a better way. Teen pregnancy is a rather sensitive issue that needs to be handled with care. They is a huge scope for emotional maneuvering. I felt the writer didn't make good use of that ground. 

A epilogue in the end continuing the subtle romance between Hania and Konstanty could have worked wonders. 

VERDICT: It's worth a read - but only for slow romance lovers. Not for those "instant romance" lovers who can't appreciate the beauty of proper courtship

RATING: 4 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Granas was born in Alaska and lives in Warsaw. In addition to writing novels, she works as a translator, including for UN and EU bodies, past and current presidents and prime ministers, and various Nobel nominees. She is happy to receive friend requests or correspondence.
PRICE: Rs.59.00


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

1 comment:

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