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Not to be Overlooked

By Nayisha Patel and Gurnish Kaur

Not To Be Overlooked introduces a variety of wonderful but lesser-known books to assist readers in finding their next great reads. This week’s column covers a review of Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto & Galatea by Madeline Miller.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Jesse Q. Sutanto's Dial A for Aunties is a sweet and funny rom-com that offers a delicious blend of family relationships, romance and surprising twists. This endearing and amusing story follows the life of Meddelin Chan, a young wedding photographer who unwittingly becomes entangled in a web of deception following a disastrous blind date. It doesn't take readers long to warm up to Meddelin's character because of how relatable and flawed she is. With a cake knife, Meddelin inadvertently kills her blind date starting the story off in a hilarious fashion. She asks her meddling, domineering but lovely mother and her three aunts, who together manage a lucrative wedding company, for assistance in disposing of the body because she feels terrified and guilty.

The dialogue between Meddelin and her aunts forms the core of this book. Their shared cultural experience, closeness and intrusiveness in her life are the ideal ingredients for both comedic and emotional depth. The characters' clever and incisive banter adds an air of genuineness to the story, and the complexities of their connection will have readers in fits of laughter. When the body reappears at one of the lavish weddings hosted by the Chan family, the plot takes an unexpected turn. The stakes are upped, and the following mayhem only heightens the situation's absurdity. Sutanto explores the complexities of familial love and the difficulty of balancing personal ambitions with family expectations while expertly blending humour and sincere emotional moments.

It is engrossing and enjoyable to read because of the author's intriguing writing style. The story is laced with cultural allusions and customs, offering a novel viewpoint and insight into Chinese-Indonesian culture. This cultural setting gives the narrative a unique flavour and distinguishes it from other works in the rom-com genre. The mystery element that has been deftly woven into the story of Dial A for Aunties is one of its highlights. Readers are kept on the edge of their seats as they turn the pages in anticipation of learning the mystery surrounding the body of the deceased date. The story comes to a nice end with a pleasant and surprising resolution. But despite the book's rich tapestry of romance, family conflict and humour, some readers might find some of the plot's twists to be a little too predictable. A few supporting characters should have also been given more development to give the plot more dimension.

I'll sum up by saying that Dial A for Aunties is a fascinating and heartfelt read that hits the ideal harmony between romance, mystery and humour. Readers will enjoy the comical tale and likeable characters created by Jesse Q. Sutanto, who will put a smile on their faces. Dial A for Aunties is the ideal book if you're looking for a fun and interesting read that highlights cultural diversity and familial ties.

Galatea by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller, the renowned author of Circe and The Song of Achilles, has once again demonstrated her exceptional storytelling prowess with her lesser-known novella, Galatea. In this enchanting reimagining of the classic Greek myth, Miller brings to life the mythical sculpture, Galatea, giving her a voice and agency in a world of gods and mortals. This instant Sunday Times Bestseller is a greatly written accessible novella for anyone who is new to Greek mythology or simply wants a short, imaginative read.

Galatea takes readers on an emotional journey, delving deep into the complexities of love, identity and self-discovery. At the heart of the story is Galatea, a once-inanimate statue brought to life by the talented sculptor, Pygmalion. Free from her stone prison, Galatea finds herself navigating a world she never knew existed and grappling with the newfound emotions and desires coursing through her.

Miller skilfully crafts the character of Galatea, endowing her with intelligence, curiosity and vulnerability, making her instantly relatable and compelling. As Galatea sets out to uncover her purpose and meaning in this newfound existence, readers are drawn into her struggle for autonomy and independence, as she strives to carve her path despite the constraints of her creator's desires.

The novella is not just about Galatea's quest for self-discovery, it also explores themes of love and the power dynamics inherent in relationships. Galatea's encounters with humans and gods alike highlight the intrinsic struggles of any being seeking acceptance and love in a world where they are viewed as different or other. The emotional depth of these interactions tugs at the heartstrings, leaving readers emotionally invested in Galatea's journey.

Madeline Miller's prose is as eloquent and evocative as ever, painting a vivid and captivating world steeped in Greek mythology. Her meticulous attention to detail and masterful storytelling make the setting and characters come alive, transporting readers to ancient Greece, where they witness the wonders and dangers of that mythical world.

One of the book's greatest strengths is Miller's ability to imbue her retelling with contemporary relevance. Galatea serves as a poignant commentary on societal expectations, gender roles and the power dynamics between creators and their creations. Through Galatea's journey, readers are prompted to contemplate the complexities of individuality, consent and the struggle for self-determination.

As with her previous works, Miller's exploration of mythology is not merely confined to retelling stories but provides insightful observations on the human condition. Her examination of identity, agency and love resonates with readers on a profound level, making Galatea not just a retelling of a myth but an exploration of timeless human themes.

Overall, Galatea is an exquisite and thought-provoking novella that showcases Madeline Miller's mastery of storytelling and her ability to breathe life into classical mythology. Through Galatea's journey, Miller provides readers with a tale of courage, self-discovery and the power of love. The novella will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on those who journey through its pages, reminding us that, at our core, we all seek the same universal truths - to be seen, heard and loved for who we truly are.


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