Shiva's Arms

Shiva's Arms

by Cheryl Snell

When Alice marries Ramesh, she is plunged into a battle of wills with her mother-in-law.

Namesake of a god, Amma reigns over Alice's household until a family secret is revealed that costs the old woman everything.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Poetry
  • Rating: 3.80
  • Pages: 209
  • Publish Date: March 15th 2010 by The Writer's Lair Books

What People Think about "Shiva's Arms"

Alice a young free spirited American and Ramesh a young college student from India fall in love.From that point on Alice and Ramesh both deal with the struggles and joys of a cross cultural relationship and marriage.

Yet she keeps with it until the very end. I felt so much empathy for her, and then at the end I felt her strength.

If youve ever wondered about Indian culture, Hindu festivals, mixed marriages that span continents, or how people from a different background assimilate in Americas new world, Shivas Arms is surely the book for you. A literary story, Shivas Arms tell the tale of Ram, who marries the American Alice, of Rams mother, known as Amma, of his sister Nela, and of son Sam who grows from childhood to adulthood with a foot in each world. But most of all, theres an Indian and American feel to the tale, a telling of something real from which all of us can learn, a blending of cultures that leaves them both unique and that heals the rift.

Addendum: After I read my own review (which was written without much sleep), I realized that it did not fully convey what I felt about this book. I do not want this review to read as though the book is not well-written; the abruptness I reference only appears in the first half of the book; after that, the book flows smoothly and the story and characters come more fully to life.

The book explores the cultural difference and the difficulties that these marriages often face. I liked that the author took on a new take in having the character of Ramesh being torn between his wife and mother to show the cultural differences and difficulties.

No, it doesnt need to be written out, And now back in America or anything like that. Something like that is needed in Shivas Arms. Liked: The struggle that is clashing cultures is very well depicted in Shivas Arms. And, while I hated a lot of things Amma did, said, and stood for, I cant count that against the book. Didnt like: Some of the terminology and reference to Indian culture were things I didnt understand. Some readers might be picking up this book, not having read others like it. And, with those things in the Glossary (rather than explained in the text of the story), I dont think it wouldve been talking down to the reader. Yes, there were some things I thought that couldve been handled better, but overall the book was quite interesting.

There is Alice who marries Ramesh, and his mother Amma and huge family in India. Alice is apprehensive meeting his family and rightly so as she knows absolutely nothing of the Indian culture. Amma is the matriarch in this huge family and spends a lot of time each year in America with her son.

Throughout the book, the reader is led to love Alice and then, just as strongly, pushed to hate her. On the other hand, there is Amma (or Shiva). Plus, Ms. Snell has even included some recipes straight from Ammas kitchen if you feel like eating traditional Indian food while reading.

Reviews of my books: When I married into a Hindu Brahmin family, I began to write seriously as a way to penetrate the protocol of another culture.