Book Review: Miss Timmins’ School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy

” When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done, when the battle ‘s lost and won “

Macbeth quote by William Shakespeare
(Act I, Scene I)

What, pray-tell, does this have to do with this 21st Century debut novel by Nayana Curribhoy?

When I first began reading this poetic novel by Curribhoy, I thought “shit, I hope this won’t be like 3 cups of Tea” (clearly, I did not enjoy that book!). But, I was utterly absorbed within the first 2 chapters. That’s not to say I loved the book, but it was a page-turner for sure.

Charulata Apte (Charu), a young, sheltered and timid 21-year-old middle class Indian woman leaves home seeking independence and a life beyond her wildest imagination – ending up as a teacher at an upper-class Indian boarding school (Miss Timmins’ School for Girls) in a tiny mountain village. As she guides her students thru their own coming-of-age, she, too, begins to evolve.

Helping navigate her thru this strange environment, Charu is befriended by a mysterious – and “wicked” – colleague….Moira Prince. Prince introduces her to drugs, to love and to heartache. She also introduces the element of danger that catapults this from a coming of age novel to a murder mystery.

When Prince is found dead at the plateau Curribhoy refers to as “table land”, the rest of the story unfolds. The story reminds me of a cracked windshield. Now stay with me here…. When your windshield is hit by a rock and cracks – there is a clear START to the crack….typically, it’s dense and crumbly. From there, you see it spider-web out…..with other little cracks – each with its own dense/crumbly center – until the entire glass (or most of it) is ruined.

This is very similar to the book. Once the main story “web” was spun…..the book took many tangents, had many off-shooting stories that while I was totally absorbed in the book, I can’t put a finger on why. I’m not sure which story I liked.

So, back to the question I asked earlier – what on earth does Macbeth have to do with anything? Curribhoy introduces the Shakespear classic as one of the threads woven into this maze of a novel and so, I figured…..why not?

And, at the same time, it does make sense – but you’ll have to read the book to figure out why 🙂

 

Rachael’s Grade

Writing: B

Character Development: B

Plot: B

 

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