The Henna Artist
(The Henna Artist, #1)
by Alka Joshi
Narrated by Sneha Mathan
THE WALKING BOOK CLUB SNEAKER RATINGS:
Motivation to Move: 4.5 Sneakers
Quality of Narration: 4.7 Sneakers
Overall Experience: 4.8 Sneakers
Moving and listening time: 14 hours 13 minutes at 1.3 x narration speed for 11 hours of active time
REVIEW: Immersive experience – You can hear the busy streets and smell the spice aromas
“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, an apropos sentiment for The Henna Artist.
Journey to Jaipur Indian in the 1950s. The Henna Artist is rich with India’s culture; you can almost hear the busy streets and smell the spices’ aroma. After escaping from an abusive marriage, Lakshmi becomes a highly respected henna artist to the innermost elite circle of wealthy women. Her skills go beyond her artistic talents, which adds interesting elements.
One aspect that grabbed my attention was Lakshmi’s herbal treatments and medicine for women and birth control. Across time and culture, many of the recent audiobooks in The Walking Book Club have references to the role of women as behind-the-scenes healers for other women. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, set in London in the late 1700s, and The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate, set in the south during The Reconstruction, have women as healers with knowledge of herbs and botanicals for treating various conditions. In The Henna Artist, you experience this subject theme in another time and culture. Different yet similar.
Narration is well cast and pleasant to the ear. However, listeners may want to consider speeding up the pace. The accompanying Reading Guide download from the publisher is a welcome reference tool.
This audiobook is excellent for anyone wanting an adventure to a different time and place. Beautifully written, pleasantly narrated, highly engaging.
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