Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Anita Rau Badami

By Lynn Willoughby

The Hero’s Walk ~ Anita Rau Badami

The setting for this novel is a small town in India with sweltering heat and wild monsoons. It is the story of four generations – their heartaches, their dreams, their kindness and their selfishness.
The large family home all occupy is falling down around them. Seipathi , the bread winner, is always broke.  His domineering mother is constantly chastising him and flaunting her hypochondria and self absorption. His daughter Maya has moved to Canada to study, then married a Canadian and now they have a daughter.  In a fit of anger Sripathi has broken all ties with her.  His son Arun, has no job and is becoming ever more involved in political activism – which Sripathi cannot understand at all.
When Maya and her husband are both killed in a car accident, Sripathi journeys to Vancouver to bring his seven year old granddaughter home with him.  However, she is still in shock, has never met this old man and doesn’t even speak.
There is a lot of Hindu culture in this novel – the food they eat, the wedding jewelry traditionally worn, the beautiful designs Koti, the maid, makes in the sand in the courtyard each day to ward off evil.  However, I found it difficult to really connect with any one of the characters.  We get our point of view from Sripathi, his wife, his mother and his sister.  And while it is interesting how each goes about the daily business of living, no one seems to change or grow.  I was disappointed in the lack of redemption and forgiveness and especially disappointed in the lack of sympathy and understanding for the little girl yanked from her Canadian home, the death of her parents, and thrust into the chaos of the Indian household where nothing makes sense.  There is no Halloween, no Tooth Fairy, no foods she likes or recognizes, no understanding of the teasing and testing she must endure from her school notes.
This was a Canada Reads choice for 2016.  the negativity and pessimism almost did me in, so am not sure how to rate it.
“It’s a book about family and how love can curdle and rot relationships but also heal and redeem.” says one critic.
  •  Tell It To The Trees
  •  Can You Hear the Nightbird Call?
…………….and others

Who Knew?

In India around 200,000 people need a kidney every year, but only about 3% of the demand is met.  The World Health Organization estimated in 2007 that organ trafficking accounts for 5-10% of kidney transplants across the globe.

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