I was intrigued — and well on the way to being hooked — at the first sentence of As Sweet as Honey: “Our aunt Meterling stood over six feet tall, a giantess, a tree.” Then in the next paragraph, the plot thickened: “What was interesting, and never expected, was that Aunt Meterling married the littlest man she knew.”
Meterling was not doing things in the typical Island way (From the island of Pi, they don’t call themselves Indian, but Islanders). Whereas most marriages are arranged with suitable partners, no one really balked at Meterling’s choice of a short white English man, because she was well into her 20’s, and of course so very tall. They were glad she and Archer found one another.
But happiness doesn’t easily find Meterling. She finds love, but she must also deal with death and relocation and dashed dreams.
The novel is told from an interesting point of view — mostly from that of her niece Mina, who also wants to be untraditional woman as well — in sort of story fashion, even when Meterling is living off the island. This didn’t really add or detract from the story. It just added to the quiet quirky feel.
I loved the whole family and extended cast of characters. I generally enjoy South Asian literature, so I was glad to discover the work of Indira Ganesan. If you like character-driven novels and don’t mind a little quirkiness and magical realism, I think you’ll enjoy As Sweet as Honey too.