cover image Sound Shadows of New World

Sound Shadows of New World

Ved Mehta. W. W. Norton & Company, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-393-02225-4

In 1949, at age 15, Mehta left his native India to spend three years at the Arkansas School for the Blind. In this vivid memoir, written with great sensitivity and without self-pity, he describes the dilemmas of coping with blindness while adjusting to life in a new culture. The normal growing pains of adolescence were amplified by his handicap, but even more so by his identity as an Indian. When he tries to cross an intersection, a man tells him, ""I won't help your kind,'' but then a woman gives him a lift in her car. A teacher decrees him to be damned because he's a Hindu. When a white American girlfriend murmurs ``I love you,'' Mehta, torn by guilt and ambivalence, pontificates, ``Love grows like a treeit takes years.'' Comic touches and rueful ironies abound. The author starts out certain that he will soon return to India, but we leave him on the point of embarking for a new frontier, California. Among Mehta's 15 books are Vedi and The Ledge Between the Streams. Foreign rights: Georges Borchardt. January 27