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There Is Room for You    by Charlotte Bacon order for
There Is Room for You
by Charlotte Bacon
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

There Is Room for You - by Charlotte Bacon, author of Lost Geography - is a very moving story of a woman's search for herself. She hopes to find why she is who she is. To discover her mother's past and in so doing possibly understand her own.

Anna Singer feels bereft by the death of her father and the desertion of her husband. She feels that her job - grant writing for third world countries - doesn't justify her existence. Maybe if she understood her mother Rose more, things would fall into place. Rose was a motherless English child raised in India in the last years of the British raj. Now living in America, she raised Anna and her brother, giving no hint of her own background. Anna needs more, and wonders if going to her mother's birthplace might open her eyes as to why her mother was so taciturn. She plans a trip to India.

The journey of discovery is lovingly written with grace and sensitivity. The teeming streets and ghats of Calcutta come alive with Bacon's word pictures. Anna's experiences as a tourist are different, she knows, than those of her mother as a resident. Nevertheless, she feels her mother there.

Rose sent Anna a manuscript before Anna left for India - one she had written many years after her childhood, but which detailed her life as a white-faced English girl in dark-skinned India. Is this what Anna needs to break through the barrier her mother raised when her children were born? Can mere words strengthen her ties to her mother? Can understanding her mother erase Anna's feeling of loss? I recommend There Is Room for You as a wonderfully written saga of love, family, and social mores.

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