Author : Tea Tulic
Publisher : Istros Books
Genre : Literary Fiction, Memoir
Source : Publisher
Rating : 4/5 Stars
I read somewhere that this was a fragmented novel. I wasn’t sure what that meant or if I would enjoy this new format but as it turns out, it is a brilliant form of writing that presents us (the reader) with short bursts of intense emotion and observation. this book is basically a memoir of sorts, Tea Tulic writes about her experience watching her mother wither away from cancer and how she and her grandmother deal with it. No, it isn’t a family saga, it is short pieces of fiction that ultimately make up a larger novel.
WHAT I LIKED : Tea Tulic starts narrating when her mother first falls sick, something goes wrong with her eye and she is rushed to the hospital. The author takes us through the little things that somehow we never think about, but matter the most. Like how she stops praying to the god she used to worship so devoutly. How she gets angry with superstition yet searches far and wide for doctors using alternate medicines and ships them to where she is (as a believe in alternate medicine, or what is mainstream medicine here, I did not find this laughable but others might) and how they all failed her.
The writing is beautiful and lightweight which is something I did not expect. I thought this would be something heavy and gut wrenching but she makes jokes, amusing observations and keeps you engrossed throughout without making you cry. It is very well done and despite being a short read, maybe you could finish this in an hour or two hours, it will still be one of those books that leave a lasting impact on you.
WHAT I DISLIKED: There are a few problems I had with the book though. Well, mainly one problem.
A SHORT CONVERSATION ABOUT THEIR GOD
‘Couldn’t I call Shiva by another name?’
‘No, Shiva’s name does not change.’
‘Then that god of yours is very sensitive.’
This I find ridiculous because first, a simple google search would have fixed this embarrassing and offensive ignorance and second, the person she is talking to here obviously knows nothing about their own religion and should shut their mouth/not have been taken seriously enough to put in this important of a book. We have a prayer in Hinduism which is just the chanting of the 1008 names of Shiva. Yes, you heard that right ONE THOUSAND AND EIGHT. So this felt like a slap in the face and removed one whole star from what might have been a 5 star read.
Apart from that one glitch I would say this is definitely worth reading and worth keeping in your collection. I adored the rest of it and felt that it conveyed a tragic event in a brilliant and intelligent fashion without taking away from the sadness of it. An author to look out for.
Hair Everywhere is the story of one family and how they manage to cope when the mother is diagnosed with cancer. It is a delicate tale that balances itself between the generations, revealing their strengths and weaknesses in times of trouble. It is also a story about how roles within a family can change when things become challenging, due to sickness or death, allowing some to grow and others to fade. Ultimately, this is a book about life; full of humour and absurdity as well as sadness, and set against an everyday background where the ordinary takes on new significance and colour. Tea Tulic’s debut novel is a brave glance at the human condition.