The Roller Birds of Rampur

Indi Rana, Author Henry Holt & Company $15.95 (298p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2670-2
Readers can really sink their teeth into this meaty first novel. An engrossing coming-of-age story of a girl caught between two cultures, it also offers--with only the barest twinge of didacticism--an extraordinarily clear explanation of Hindu philosophy. Indian-born teen Sheila Mehta, who has grown up in London, no longer knows where she belongs. Her English boyfriend abruptly drops her after bringing her home to meet his mother; her best friend is sent to India for an arranged marriage to a stranger; and her younger sister is dressing punk and trying to pass for black. Sheila returns to her family's farm in Madhya Pradesh, where in the course of being initiated into the dissonant intricacies of modern Indian life, she realizes that, for better or worse, she is as much English as Indian. Although Rana peoples her novel with emblematic figures--philosophical Grandpa, downtrodden serving girl, intellectual poseur cousin--her keen sense of human nature and a sharp eye for detail keep these characters intriguing and fresh. An insightful look at a complex and vibrant culture. Ages 12-up. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-449-70434-9
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