The Journey

Indria Ganesan, Author, Indira Ganesan, Author Knopf Publishing Group $18.95 (171p) ISBN 978-0-394-56838-6
This promising though uneven first novel maps the voyage--actual and spiritual--of shy Renu Krishnan, 19, from America to her birthplace, the fictitious island of Pi (for Prospero's Island) off India's coast. With her mother and sister, Renu returns for the funeral of her adored cousin Rajesh, called her twin since they were born the same day. Renu's grief is compounded by rude shocks: local superstition has it that she will soon die by fire (since her ``twin'' drowned), and now her mother presses her to yield to a traditionally arranged marriage. Tension slackens as the narrative shifts away from Renu, who grows increasingly passive, fragile and withdrawn. Various family members are depicted in vignettes--Renu's lively, liberated sister Manx, who dates wayward Freddie, an American expatriate; their grandfather who makes a pilgrimage alone; their clownish Uncle Adda and his tragic Spanish wife. While the charm of the writing and observations about East and West engage the reader, Renu's story drifts into an arbitrary half-resolution. The author, born in India, lives in Princeton, N.J. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
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