Torn Together by Emlyn Chand

I first stumbled on the author Emlyn Chand on Facebook and was intrigued by this American who seemed to love Bollywood and jive to Kajra Re. Though badly tempted I forbore to ask her the source of her fascination towards things Indian. I still haven’t asked her – why spoil a good mystery?

Then I read her book Open Heart. It is about a girl with psychic gifts. Her name is Simmi and she is Indian, and has huge issues with her body type. Like all teenagers she wants to fit in, and the Indian figure is not your ordinary garden variety American type. Oh! And her mother makes Kadhi pakode.

I loved it.

When Emlyn Chand was looking for people to review her novel Torn Apart, I jumped at the chance. I am greedy, like that!

Torn Together is a story of two women, mother and daughter. Daly is a young woman grieving the death of her father and can not come to terms with the fact that it tore her family apart. She is somewhat self-centered as she fails to notice how her mother has withdrawn into the world of books and is reluctant to deal with life. What impressed me was how natural that sounds. The child never notices that the parent is fallible and human, that the parent also needs help, support.

Emlyn Chand explains the title as

In the title of the book, Torn indicates a ripping apart, but Torn Together connotes a magnetic connection, despite a desire for distance.

Characters in the book are thrown together against their wishes, and some are torn apart.  Yes this book is about relationships and their dynamics.

It takes a decade, and the death of Daly’s Indian husband Kashi to bring them back together.

Emlyn Chand has gone into extraordinary details. The paints and the art terminology used for Daly’s paintings – well I did not check them out but will stick my neck out and state that they sounded really authentic. I can vouch for the fact that the huge part of the story which takes place in New Delhi is well researched and very authentic. The flat in Delhi, the Chai Ji, the pavement shops in C P, and even the Palak Paneer {Polyp (?) Wicked!} was very real. So was the honest to God freak out that happened when the family discovered that their beloved Kashi was in love with a Gori.

The characters are well etched. Meghann is adorable.

Open Heart was great and promised better things. Torn Together is mature, mellow and emotional. It made me smile, it made me sigh. I lived with the characters. It was a joy reading this book.

The Amazon link to the book


4 thoughts on “Torn Together by Emlyn Chand

  1. Oh wow, Ritu, thank you for the wonderful review. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get over here and say “thank you.” I love it when Indian readers enjoy my books, because I try so hard to represent the beauty and diversity of proud Hindustan. My ex-husband (who I was with for 8 years) was from Delhi. We were married there; I learned Hindi. I lived the culture as an outsider looking in, and I still find it lovely although our relationship was not meant to last .


    • You succeed at representing the beauty and diversity of our culture … even though palak paneer becomes polyp paneer 😛 I loved that line! Sad to hear the relationship did not last Some relationships arent meant to be … but it did give you an insight into our lives, our Chaijis and our absolutely (in the western context) crazy and cohesive family units.

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