Book rec: The House of Hidden Mothers

Book rec: The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal

Here’s the blurb and then a little bit about why I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind:

Welcome to Little India, East London, where Shyama, aged forty-four, has fallen for a younger man. They want a child together. 

Welcome to a rural village in India, where young Mala, trapped in an oppressive marriage, dreams of escape. 

When Shyama and Mala meet, they help each other realise their dreams. But will fate guarantee them both happiness?…

Brimming with warmth, wit and indignation, Meera Syal immerses us in a double story of friendship, family and the lengths women will go to have a child. Crossing between East London and rural India, its universal tale of female triumph over adversity tickles as much as it bites, while asking searching questions about what makes us human.

The story of surrogates was in the news last year in Australia for several reasons — a gay couple couldn’t return home  with their newborns because there had been, as I recall, a crackdown on surrogacies. I can’t remember whether they were Australian or not, but I had watched their story on 60 minutes here. Then there’s the story of Gammy, who is a twin, who was left behind in Thailand when his Australian parents brought his sister home to Australia because he had Downs Syndrome. Added to that, the father is a convicted sex offender.

So. This book? Doesn’t seem as dire as all that, but this is why it piqued my interest. There’s good in surrogacy — done right, legally, I think it can bring people so much happiness. But in this book, things don’t seem as easy for Mala.

Added to this, I love the cover! It’s striking and colourful and speaks of a happy ending, though given the story I’m not sure whether it will be or not.

But, still I want to read it! What about you?

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