As Captivating as a Delicate Butterfly in
Of Marriageable Age is a cleverly crafted and intricately
woven story dealing with the complexities of arranged marriages.
Sharon Maas has captured a certain innocence in her writing.
This story grew inside her and was finally born in an ancient
farmhouse where she typed in the depth of winter. Sharon pours
the warmth of her very soul into the pages. This story will
bathe you in balmy thoughts and entice you into its pages the
way the ocean entices you to swim in its depths. She remembers
what it feels like to be a child in the comforting safety of a
mother’s love or how it feels to embrace a moment in time, so
thoughtfully, it always clings to your memory.
Her intense power of observation enables her to set up
situations, which bring out the characters deepest fears,
sublime longings and internal tortures. She creates tension at
the end of each chapter, propelling you forward to read the next
exciting detail. Each chapter in the first section focuses on
one of the three main characters.
This rotation of chapters invites you to follow the lives of
Nat, Saroj and Savitri who in the first section are like streams
of water moving towards a river. The second and third sections
are more like a waterfall in which moments of enlightenment flow
through you suddenly, as you realize how these three characters'
lives intertwine. Each life is richly textured with cultural
details as they move from the innocence of childhood into an
adult awareness. The character development is outstanding. As
the story grows and changes, hope grows within you that the
characters will find the happiness they deserve.
The Blue Morpho butterfly on the cover seems to represent
Saroj, who must struggle through countless battles of thought to
finally shed the insulation of her old life so she can embrace
her destiny. She at first spins protective silk thoughts around
herself, trapping herself so she can grow her wings. She is
living in British Guiana, South America, in the 60s. I love her
free spirit when she emerges from her cocoon, her imagination,
her beloved places.
“…she also went there to escape to the seashore, to get a
glimpse of the ocean, to run for miles along the Sea Wall, to
wade, barefoot and curly-toed, into the foaming sheet of warm
brown water when the tide rolled gently in and licked the beach.
The ocean was freedom. Standing at its edge and gazing far out
into the horizon, eastwards, she felt a deep, yearning ache that
rose out of some unknown kernel within her, that reached out,
far far out, to that distant horizon, to the unseen shores that
lay beyond, and further, to the endlessness of the sky, to the
endlessness of time.
...the tower room was all windows, without shade. Open the
glass panes and the wind sailed through, a cleansing, vigorous
wind that swept away care and uprooted disquiet. Up here you
felt tall, free, strong. Up here, nothing could touch you. It
was a refuge from the heat of the day, a sanctuary from the pain
of living. An escape….” pg. 47, 48
Saroj tries to control her life and hurriedly rushes down
paths as they are presented to her. She fights and wriggles free
from her controlling father (an orthodox Hindu lawyer) only to
see his true intentions years later. She finds a childhood
friend named Trixie who seems to understand her rebellion.
Trixie rescues her from the tapestry of a deeply rooted
The men in this story seem more willing to follow tradition,
to accept their fate. Nat is adopted by a doctor working in
rural India (Madras State, 1947) and not only has the ability to
heal, he later has the ability to water thirsty souls and women
are drawn to him. He longs to find a woman who will invite him
into her secret life. He realizes women are seeking spiritual
unity and that true strength is gentle. Women long for a
connection of the soul. He also wants to uncover the mystery of
his own life.
Savitri understands silence. She lives from the inside and
knows that the man she loves is the other part of her soul.
Forbidden fruit is irresistible to her, yet she also has the
ability to love unconditionally. She is a servant (cook’s
daughter) of the Lindsays, an English family living in India.
She falls in love with the master’s son. Her story starts in
Madras, India, in 1921. She and David observe one another from a
distance, living separate lives, wanting to find some connection
that threatens to dissolve them both into a sea of troubles.
While the storms of their lives threaten to tear them apart
forever, somehow they manage to find a few moments of absolute
While Nat and Savitri’s stories are essential to the plot,
Saroj is definitely the main character who evolves through a
process of choices and situations thrust upon her by life. Her
exuberance for life is woven into thoughtful prose. You enter
her world, one which she is trying to abandon. Her very soul
desperately cries out not to be tied down to duty. She wants to
make her own choices, especially when it comes to choosing a
husband, her lover for life.
Standing at the window of her mind, you will observe the most
intimate of thoughts. She will capture your heart. Instead of
embracing various moment at times, she dreads her fate, the
impending doom. She is dramatic and horrified at the thought of
being forced into marriage at a marriageable age. She knows that
in life, there is one man who is worthy of her intelligence and
beauty. Locked in the prison of her father’s discontent, the
depths of her passion give her mind buoyancy. She at times flies
away on her thoughts.
An impressive masterpiece of delicious thoughts. The prose
will drip like mango juice into your thirsty soul. It will touch
your life in a way no other story ever has.
Exquisitely Meditative. A vivid exotic mystery to unravel in
the labyrinths and gardens of your mind.
"The ocean was
freedom. Standing at its edge and gazing far out into
horizon, eastwards, she felt a deep, yearning ache that rose out of
some unknown kernel within her,
that reached out, far far out, to that
distant horizon, to the
unseen shores that lay beyond, and further,
to the endlessness
of the sky, to the endlessness of time."
~Sharon Maas, Of Marriageable
Moonlight on the Ganga
Orange Marigolds, December 9, 2006
Moonlight on the Ganga draws out deep desires for the beauty you
may never find in an art museum. This beauty is revealed in the
experience of a simple glance, the awakening of recognition or
the exquisite taste of comforting moments in which the soul
truly rests in peace.
Claire Krulikowski finds this solitude in the "thunderous
song of the river." Through vignettes describing her
encounters, her humor often catches you unawares. Her vivid
writing captures your imagination as she leads you gently to
conclusions of the heart. Every nuance of her experience is felt
in its warmth and dramatic lucidity. The story of her journey
births within you a sense of heightened curiosity as she
masterfully paints images of orange marigolds, shopkeepers,
pilgrims and swamis. She also explains how monkeys find their
way into her room, takes the reader on journeys to exotic
locals, addresses unique confrontations, explores peaceful
vistas and meets people living in constant contact with a
This journey seems to be an essential part of Claire's own
spiritual path. She must face overwhelming fears, address
aspects of primal survival and encounter her teachers in various
guises to grow and mature into a beautiful awareness of life
itself in all its suffering and elation. Her spiritual insight
shows a striking clarity of vision. A sense of freedom in the
moment permeates every page. As she is tested in disarming ways,
life is smiling. How do you address hunger, death, accidents and
conflicting emotions while only longing for peace, solitude and
a good cup of Chai tea?
This enchanting mosaic is profoundly spiritual while retaining
an especially realistic portrait of life. Intimate conversations
with strangers are more important than shopping and feelings of
helplessness turn to compassion through the observation of
suffering. With striking powers of observation, Claire's writing
leads you through an enchanting landscape where a revered river
nurtures, heals and accepts prayers that float as flowers on the
ripples until descending into the silent depths. When you finish
reading this book you will long for Claire's experiences and
then realize they are offered to you, wherever you live.
~The Rebecca Review
If you love movies and books about India,
I know you will love
the movie: LAGAAN