ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd
Today I’m sharing my thoughts about The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd which is a lovely read. My thanks to Avon Books for the proof copy of the book.
‘For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’
Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.
In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.
But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…
A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!
The dedication at the beginning of The Arctic Curry Club, to people who live with anxiety, gives some indication that this is not going to be a completely fluffy read. The main character, Maya, lives with quite debilitating anxiety on a daily basis. Maya is of Indian/English descent but has never quite felt at home anywhere. Even now, she’s following her boyfriend, Ryan, to the Arctic where he’s going to monitor polar bears, but she has no idea what she’s going to do there herself.
First of all, I loved the settings of the Arctic and India, where Maya travels for family reasons. What a contrast, but both so fascinating and rich with culture and new experiences for her. She’s an accomplished cook and the discovery of her late mother’s recipe book combined with the possibility of a job cooking at the End of the Road cabins lead her to greater confidence and eventually to her pop up Arctic Curry Club, a concept that I loved (especially when there’s a very unexpected guest one night!).
I really enjoyed Maya’s growth throughout the book and the list-making that helps her deal with her anxiety. I loved how she eventually pushed herself and achieved so much with her fantastic curry club and also how she finally began to deal with her past. Sometimes I wanted to shake her, I must admit, but ultimately she’s a very likeable heroine.
I’m glad I read the Arctic Curry Club. I particularly enjoyed the food references and Maya’s descriptions of what she was cooking. Some of it was a bit unusual to say the least, but inspired too. This book might be set in a very cold climate but it’s full of warmth, heart and tantalising tastes. It’s a delightful debut.
Dani Redd has an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Creative and Critical writing from the University of East Anglia. She studied representations of islands in postcolonial and feminist fiction.
Upon finishing her PhD, Dani spent two years living in India and working as a freelance travel writer. She has now returned to Norwich, and works as the editor for Great British Food (a wonderful job that allows her to read recipes all day).