Review: Marriage Material

An astonishing debut novel!

Like a good corner shop pick-n-mix, ‘Marriage Material’ is a wonderfully mixed bag. Some sweetness, some sour, and like that unavoidable hard toffee penny, it has a way of periodically jamming your teeth; making you chew over it for hours between sittings.

This book concerns three generations of a Sikh family, centred in a Wolverhampton corner shop. It is dryly funny (the Boys II Men funeral suit dilemma is pitch-perfect) and also wise and insightful and horrifying and just wonderfully brilliant. The characters are well-drawn and believable, particularly Arjan’s mother and Ranjit. It regularly made me evaluate the complexities of integration from political, religious, historical and cultural standpoints, but it also reminded me of the complexities of simply growing up.
Although it covers some heavier issues, it does so with huge heart, and a deftness of touch that marks Sathnam Sanghera out as an author to watch.
This comes highly recommended. The final 20 pages, I’ll confess, left me breathless!

Leilah Skelton