cover image The Color of Our Sky

The Color of Our Sky

Amita Trasi. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-247407-0

Finely woven threads of friendship, womanhood, and hope sustain Trasi’s striking debut novel. In an upper-caste neighborhood in 1988 Mumbai, eight-year-old Tara and 10-year-old Mukta form an unlikely bond that seeds tumultuous change. Born the daughter of a temple prostitute in the countryside, Mukta serves Tara’s family in return for salvation from the hard, dark life to which she had been consigned. Precocious, bold Tara ignores their differences and wins over grief-stricken Mukta. But after the tragic 1993 bombings in Mumbai forever change Tara and her activist father, Mukta is kidnapped. The girls’ bifurcated story spans 14 years. Tara and her father move to the United States but fail to outrun their grief. Mukta is sold back into the sex trade, where her poetic heart, reality-tempered optimism, and memories of Tara’s friendship sustain her. But Tara returns to face her past and her guilt, and to seek her friend in the sprawl of Mumbai. The novel eschews the monolithic spectacle of India as a giant colorful circus (or worse, a giant, squalid slum) for a chiaroscuro of hope and grief, and trades worn westernized tropes for depth of character. Grounded in Trasi’s own childhood in Mumbai, this is a graceful, bittersweet novel of tragedy and tradition. Agent: Priya Doraswamy, Lotus Lane Literary. (Apr.)