Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 46: Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup


One of the joys of being a book review blogger is I get to read books I would have never come across in my normal book reading encounters. Latitudes of Longing by Mumbai-based writer Shubhangi Swarup is the latest book encounter outside of my normal reading experience.  This book was presented to me through a Goodreads friend recommendation and has received quite a bit of praise especially in her native India.

Latitudes of Longing is actually four novellas linked together through characters that appear in each story of the book. The titles for each novella are Islands, Faultline, Valley, and Snow Desert and they set-up the environmental nature of the book. Also, I learned about The Andaman Islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal between India and Myanmar (known as Burma). Swarup captures these islands beautifully in all four novellas and how the characters interact with the place as well each other.

My favorite novella, Islands, tells the story of scientist Girija Prasad and his wife, Chanda Devi.  Girija studies trees while Chanda has the ability to communicate with them.  This dichotomy into their new marriage reveals itself in surprising ways throughout the story.

Latitudes of Longing was first published in 2018 and became a bestseller in India. I can see why this book was favorite for many Indian readers as well as judges for literary awards from around the world.  Swarup presents a place that’s unfamiliar to a Western literary audience in such fashion that can capture a reader’s imagination. Hopefully this review will bring a few more readers to this interesting, genre-bending work of art.


Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 45: Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

“Words are free, she used to say, and she appropriated them; they were all hers.” That sentence from early in the novel, Eva Luna, by Isabel Allende captures the spirit of her protagonist.  Eva Luna is a spinner of tales and the stories from growing up poor on the streets of an unnamed South American… Continue Reading

Marion’s Favorites: Pineapple

My daughter, Norah, used to ask me on a semi-regular basis what is my favorite fruit? I would tell her pineapple every time she asked.  I don’t know if she wanted to me to give a different answer.  Or she wanted me to reconfirm my love for this wonderful, delicious fruit. I’ve eaten pineapple since… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 44: The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni

There is a popular meme where a guy is walking with his girlfriend and another woman walks past them.  He turns to check out the woman’s backside to the dismay of his girlfriend.  We have used the meme for all kinds of things, including how readers have always succumbed to new book fever. The girlfriend… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 42: Face of an Angel by Denise Chavez

Rereading a novel can bring different expectations from when you first read it over twenty-five years ago.  This is the case with Face of An Angel by Denise Chavez. Face of an Angel tells the story of Soveida Dosamantes, a waitress at El Farol Restaurant in the fictional New Mexican town of Agua Oscura.  Soveida… Continue Reading