Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya is a beautifully heartbreaking piece of writing. I will start this review by saying that I am not going to pair it with any type of drink. The characters spend the story in varying levels of starvation and because of this I never felt drawn to make a cup of tea or enjoy any type snack. It didn’t feel appropriate to enjoy a creature comfort while reading about such horrible pain.
I was deeply moved by Nectar in a Sieve, I found myself wanting to go and just hold my son. The pain that Rukmani and her family experience feels unbearable to the reader, but they accept their lot and keep going. Rukmani says that a person can get used to anything and this is true. Life always moves forward regardless of your pain or your joy. Rukmani demonstrates this through her quiet strength as she accepts her marriage, leaving her family, the loss of her sons, hunger, adultery, a daughter that turns to prostitution, and finally the loss of her beloved husband.
Reading Nectar in a Sieve will make you grieve for Rukmani but also make you grateful for what you have been given. It makes the burdens in your life seem much lighter.