Far Eastern Economic Review has this wonderful review of Shoba Narayan’s Monsoon Diary. The review, unlike some of the mostly positive reviews in the west, is sharp, witty and gets to the point. If you are considering buying Monsoon Diary (please see the list on the right – you are helping the website by buying from here), you must read this review.
Monsoon Diary is light, fluffy and tasty just like the idlis–or rice cakes–that Narayan writes about. To be sure, her descriptions of the food, the smells and the characters of India are as delectable as the recipes that accompany the chapters.
The reviewer is not terribly impressed with some of the writing in the later part of the book.
Monsoon Diary is at its best when its realm is the India of Narayan’s childhood. The latter half of the book, which is set in America, is unfortunately filled with cornball anecdotes and descriptions that could have used some judicious editing.