Title: Half Life
Author: Roopa Farooki
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Literary Fiction, Multicultural Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Aruna Ahmed is married, living in London with her husband Patrick Jones. She married him on impulse because she was trying to drown out her sorrows and forget about her past in Singapore. However, Aruna realizes that she can’t run away from what she left behind forever and that she has to go back and confront the ghosts she thought she’d escaped from.
I’ve heard great things about Roopa Farooki, and actually own all of her books, but I’ve never read any of them. When I received Half Life for review from the publisher, I figured it was a good place to start.
Aruna is an incredibly written character that I absolutely loved. At the start of Half Life, she is so completely broken that it seems like nothing will make her whole again. Over the course of the book, the reader learns how she ended up this way, as well as witnesses her desperate attempts to find some sort of healing. Farooki wrote Aruna with such raw emotion, the reader can’t help but become fully involved in her life. She was a beautifully written character that was so flawed, yet so easy to really feel a connection with.
The funny thing is, Aruna is not depicted as a great person. Most of what the reader sees of her is from flashbacks, when she’s already broken. This makes her seem like a mean and bitter person who doesn’t care about anyone else. However, it’s clear that there is a lot going on underneath the surface and that it’s all just Aruna trying to protect herself and keep people from getting to know her. As a result, it doesn’t turn the reader off or make Aruna an unlikeable character.
Farooki does an excellent job tying the disparate threads of this story together. She provides some shocking twists, but ultimately, it’s Aruna’s story of finding herself that will capture the reader. I was utterly taken in by the beauty, pain, and brittle edges of this novel, and can only say that it certainly won’t be my last novel by Roopa Farooki.