Book Jacket

 

rank 3975
word count 64739
date submitted 04.09.2011
date updated 09.05.2012
genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy
classification: moderate
incomplete

Painting Kuwait Violet

Pamela Fernandes

Four women, three nationalities, two generations, one home.

 

Violet Baretto thinks that her college degree would be the ticket to the big life. But she was wrong, so damn wrong. When her father dies leaving behind tons of debt she is forced to work as a maid in a Kuwaiti home. And while she's at it, she starts managing her boss's boutiques, secretly of course. She also tames the little Kuwaiti hellion in the form of her boss's daughter. But someone in the Dashti home is not happy about it and is trying to derail her path to success. When one of her colleagues is badly beaten and another killed, Violet realizes there is more than meets the eye in the Dashti home and she has to do something to escape. Something not only for herself, but for every woman in the household.

 
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tags

domestic labor, gulf war, kuwait, maids

on 11 watchlists

23 comments

 

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Laura Bailey wrote 233 days ago

Hi Pamela,

Here for our read swap...sorry for the delay!

I think you have a great start here. Great cover and wonderful, original premise. You transport the reader with your colourful descriptions. The way you describe Goa is wonderful! I am visiting this year and you e certainly added to my excitement! I like his your characters are developing and their stories are coming through. You open well, straight into the action and I think you continue to handle dialogue well.

To give you a couple of useful things to work with (if you want, my view of course), watch your tense switches. The tense confusion I first noticed was in you pitch but your main body was not so obvious (or I got sucked into your setting. :-)). My other suggestion is to use some of your wonderf background information in the main prose, as opposed to developing the characters through lengthy dialogue. You handle the information given through dialogue very well but I think in prose you could really develop it and make the most of your flare for vivid descriptions and creative language...just a thought!

High stars and I'm going to WL you to see how this develops.

Good luck!
Laura
Vengeful Love

Jack Waters wrote 260 days ago

Hi Pam, just read the first chapter of your novel. Goa is a colourful place is it not. Colourful painted walls, the render cracking and flaking. Wrought iron gates and leafy courtyards. Dusty roads filled with oxen, motorcycles and buses stuffed to the gunnels with people, some of which ride on the roof or cling to the running boards. Women cooking in the street. Wrapping vegetables into flour wraps, and dogs and cats and children playing in the dirt. Teachers ringing bells for school, and tourists, their sun burned crimson skins and white teeth grinning as a peddler tries to sell them some home-made wares. It's a hard life for a Goan. Self-employment runs at 80%, a juxtaposition would be Sweden, were it runs at 4%. Gives you an idea how self reliant people in the Asian world are. Lots of people have been telling you that you need to put a comma here and a full stop there. May be break it up with some background on why her father went bust and the main characters feelings on the matter. Almost telling you your story. This won't work. You need to feel it, feel what you write, line by line.
All your building blocks are there. You can clearly write. What we need in a story like this is passion. I would forgive you all the gram errors in the world if you could put more feeling into it. A little at a time, chapter by chapter until you had us laughing and crying and believing that yes Violet is a greater main character. It's a great story, different, and at the same time, could well have commercial appeal. I enjoyed this story and you did say no holds barred, I'm just trying to help because writers of your caliber need a little push, just to up the anti. I'm in the same boat, always trying to communicate an intensity of feeling that little bit better. A flurry of stars beaming there way to you for an unusual and rewarding story. Will read more just get a measure of the plot and development.

Regards
Jack Waters
Reuben Falls, Dark Legacy.

LarkinWest wrote 586 days ago

Very eye-opening. I also would nominate your cover for one of the most beautiful and imaginative I have seen on authonomy.

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 601 days ago

I read several chapters of your book and found it very nicely written. It flowed nicely. I found the characters believable and the story well thought-out. Many people work hard to make other people's lives nicely and it's good you've taken the effort to write a story about it.
God bless!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"

SteveSeven wrote 646 days ago

Hello Pamela, You have the makings of a very exciting story here ... the characters and plot work well and there is a lot of scope for a great tension-filled drama. There are many good points to this book and I will not go into all of them because I gather that by what you have written about yourself in the homepage, you are more interested in constructive criticism and I think that you need to tighten the story up a bit at a few places.
In the beginning there should be much more tension between Violet and her mother. I understand that you have written the tension into the story, but your language is not strong enough for the situation. For ex. Instead of stating that the mother 'has a heavy burden of insecurity', make the sentence much stronger.In the paragraph of dialogue from Violet that starts 'Mama the job market is tight...' give Violet stronger words and where you describe her tone at the end, describe it before the words.so that the reader reads the sentence knowing how it is spoken rather than being told afterwards. You lose a lot of impact here. You could italisize the sentence and add an explanation mark.
You describe the bad situation and go to some degree to show the impact on the characters, but the scenes are not as heart-rending as they could be. Remember, Violet's father has just died and they are broke and now Violet is also leaving her mother for a demeaning job in a dnagerous country. there is all the visa problems and the social problems You need to bring your reader into all this with harder language and more emotion. something should get thrown at a window or something dramatic happen. You could say that the house may get sold out from under them and make some way that Violet knows but not the mother to add a bit of tension and make more force for her to take the job against what she wants. Build more sympathy and desperation for your reader to identify with the emotional turmoil.
OK the only place where using the foreign words works is in yalla yalla. The rest is not necessary and I think spoils the odd usage. You dont need to explain the grammatical differences, just write in the direct translation as you have and the reader will feel more connected rather than having an intermediatory explaining why the dialogue is in pidgeon.
You could create more tension in the airport scene, perhaps a bomb scare or something or the threat of one. You could paint the flight sttendent a bit more sleazy and dangerous outside the toilet door. I think the best way to do this is with introspection from Violet projected onto him and that would help to develop her as a character and build more affinity with her and the reader.
You need to separate the host family (the bosses) more from Violet and TinTin and build more rapport between the workers. You do that with the daughter but not enough with the mother.
Once Violet arrives at the boss's house, introduce the Father who has the boutiques and start to paint him in the sinister light with introspection from Violet and narration. You need to find something more in the intro scenes at the house to build the tension. 'dripping with expensive furniture...' is another opportunity for you to add more to the character of the boss's life and I think there could be a better way to say it. You need to start building an image of the boss being a fat roman emporer with his slaves girls. Your story really needs to get into the action when Violet arrives at the boss´'s house and not dally too much with everyday things like shopping trips and then building tension about what KDD is. There could be more exciting things for Violet to learn and add a bit of suspence.
I really hope that this helps. I will keep you on the watchlist and I wish you all the very best. Kind regards, Steve

SpicePepe wrote 656 days ago

Great story, Pamela. I enjoyed the writing and the pace. Interesting setting with great characters - definitely will be back for more as I have only looked at the first three.
All the best
Bridget
The Road from Makhonjwa

Karamak wrote 660 days ago

What a beautiful story, I really enjoyed this so much a lovely story six stars from me, Karen, Faking it in France.

maretha wrote 661 days ago

Pamela Fernandes Painting Kuwait Violet
Started reading your wonderful novel and what I've read thus far deserves SIX stars. Will comment again as soon as I've finished the book :-)
Maretha/African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends

faith rose wrote 665 days ago

Dear Pam,

Wow! You short pitch is amazing...it really made me want to read on. I read your first two chapters today, and I love the cultural draw, characterization, and depth of this piece. Violet immediately had my sympathy, as well as her mother. The wrong that put them in such a precarious position was heartbreaking and realistic. How often real people wonder "Why has God allowed this?" You have created very authentic human portrayals, and I really love that. The reader is able to see genuinely heated emotion between mother and daughter, as well as tender moments (ie: "smoothed the lines of her mother's face"). Aunt Miranda's voice of realism as Violet departs provides a perfect stage for the hardship undoubtedly coming. I especially liked the realism in this piece...here Violet is, a well-educated young woman with promise and potential, yet life has others plans. I look forward to reading more of this multi-layered, deeply rich piece. Wishing you every success.

All the very best,
Faith Rose
Now To Him

Mr. Grassroots wrote 680 days ago

Have not been to the Middle East but my wife has been there. I love the education on the country of Kuwait. Only know about it through the recent history when the country was invaded by Iraq. Read the first chapter and will be back. It deserves my backing. Thanks for sharing. Thanks, John Presta. Mr. Grassroots.

Michael Jones wrote 687 days ago

Had a read of this, Pamela. It's not your usual run-of-the-mill chick lit, is it? I read a couple of chapters and like how you describe kuwait and its women, giving me an insight into their lives and what life is like for them. I think there are areas where you could certainly pare down and make this a punchier read - given the chick lit tag. I thought your dialogue at the beginning was a bit over done and it felt like you were trying to relay too much information through it ... but overall, it read well.

Good luck with it.

Mick

fledglingowl wrote 693 days ago

Pamela,
I only made it through the first chapter, will try to return for more. Fascinating book. Love Violet and Tintin. Never thought I would pity rich people, but you describe the Kuwati women in such a way that it makes me overwhelmingly sorry for them. Just a marvelous, rich book with so much vivid detail. High stars.
Good luck on your writing,
Janet
The Milche Bride
Clarissa's Kitchen

femmefranglaise wrote 695 days ago

Hi Pamela, I've really enjoyed this as I spent many years in the Middle East so I can really get the 'feel' of the story. I was actually cabin crew for Gulf Air for part of the time and I promise you I was nice to all the passengers :-) I love the way you have woven information about Kuwait into your story. It's all very well written, with some great characters and good pace. I'll be back to read more as soon as I have a moment. Lots of stars in the meantime

Melanie
La Vie en Rosé

mistybrooke wrote 709 days ago

I put this book on my watchlist. I hope to see it reach the top!

patio wrote 711 days ago

This is packed with emotions to keep readers grip. It had that effect on me

Zerin Mewa wrote 732 days ago

I like the way you write and you're descriptions of people and places, it helps the reader visualize more. This book is not only interesting to read but also informative about a place not many people know a lot about. I also like you're characters, it's like their coming to life. Beautiful and looking forward to reading more. Highly starred for now. x

Bea Sinclair wrote 756 days ago

Simply wonderful. On my watchlist and a constellation of stars awarded. Yours Bea

PA Davis wrote 821 days ago

Painting Kuwait Violet - by Pamela Fernandes
This is a very interesting read about a world most of us in the west know little of. Generally, the writing is good, but I see some instances where editing will become a necessity. For example:
...she FINALLY made it. (It is not necessary to capitalize words for emphasis. Most readers will understand the importance of the word on their own).
I do not make comments regarding grammar or punctuation as there are others here more qualified for that task. I am mostly concerned with style, readability, structure, and storytelling.
I like your writing style, it is smooth and easy, sentences don't run too long and the material you present is interesting. There is a case in Chapter 2 where Violet helps the men on the plane who do not understand English. After she helps them her thoughts are written in italics (proper), but I think it is a long thought. As with some other passages in the story, there is a little too much. Less is more in most cases. Paint a fluid picture for your reader, but give him/her some license to imagine on their own.
Your overall storytelling is first rate. I have some experience in the Kuwait and found some of your points fascinating, but consider it there is too much. I liked the read, but others my get bogged down with the detail.
This is a fine work, Pamela. With some editing it can be a captivating novel. I will give this good stars and it will find a place on my shelf once space is available.

I would take great interest in your comments on The Red Poppy.

P Alan Davis
The Red Poppy
Raindancer

Laith Doory wrote 822 days ago

You can certainly write, though some of the details might be a bit obscure for readers who are not familiar with Kuwait. Hope to sound constructive rather than negative. If you decide to re-work this book at a future date or haven't finished it yet or wish to write a sequel, hope you take on board some of my suggestions.

I think you have missed a golden opportunity to place this story before the invasion of Kuwait rather than 6 years after, a momentous event in history that still garners much interest. It would be interesting to follow the lives of these people - their decadent materialism, petty prejudices, back-stabbing and all the rest - and see how they react when their whole world is turned upside down overnight.

All the best,
Laith

open mind wrote 825 days ago

Interesting read. I like the way you describe Kuwait. There are a few typos. At chapter eleven you described Violet being raped but later you said it was tintin. Please check! well drawn characters. Motivating. Wish my best.
Hurefo

Maria Constantine wrote 826 days ago

One reason I was drawn to reading your book was the cultural and social themes interwoven into your story. There is depth in your writing which I find rewarding as a reader. You also switch point of view so that not only do we see things from Violet's perspective, but also from other characters, eg. Sabah's opinion at the end of chapter 2. I have rated your book and will keep it on my watchlist so that I can read some more. Maria

alison woodward wrote 886 days ago

This is a very good read, love violet and tintin, you can get in to the story and feel you are there watching what goes on, cant help feeling sorry for Aliya.
You have done a very good job.
All the best

Alison

Su Dan wrote 940 days ago

very interesting book- l like the fact that you take the time to explain some Arabic...
l shall back...
read SEASONS...

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