(DNF at 51%)
I feel like I am doing myself and this book a disservice by reading a much shortened, translated version of it. The original book is about 500 pages, and this version is 288.
I peaked at other reviews of this book on Goodreads, because the book got a lot of glowing 5 star reviews (and I just couldn't understand why). But now I know that the translation is the reason.
The original, Madhorubdagan, is poetic, lush and beautiful. One Part Woman is dry, choppy and repetitive. Which saddens me to no end, because I don't speak the language the book was written in, so I guess I will never be able to experience the true beauty of it.
I loved the new cover, I loved the topic and I loved that I had the chance to read something by a foreign author. I wanted to learn more about Indian culture, their religion and customs, but due to the horrible translation I really couldn't.
Sure, all of those things were in the book, but they weren't catered to an average reader - there were no explanations as to who was who, and what god came from where. There were no explanations of temples, or rituals - names were just thrown around and I drowned trying to decipher what means what.
I also really hope that this book is not a correct representation of Indian culture as a whole and its people. Because if it is you will be hard pressed to find one single nice person in India, which I'm sure is not true. In the book they all were just horrible people! Jealous, crude, self-centered and worse. The only person I felt bad for was Ponna, because not only she suffered the most, but also because Kali (in my opinion) was a total prick.
I am sad that I wasn't able to enjoy this book, nor learn anything from it. I firmly believe that if book gets translated it should be translated in a way that is the closest to the original, but also in a way that is accessible and understandable to everyone. People who live in that environment and people who don't should all be able to experience the book in the same way. Otherwise why translate it at all?
Big thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a digital galley copy provided for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Freelance BETA reader.