Anita Rau Badami The Hero's Walk

ISBN 13: 9780747557968

The Hero's Walk

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9780747557968: The Hero's Walk
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Sripathi Rao's life is as arid as the dusty South Indian town where he lives. All he ever wanted was an ordinary life with a solid job and a happy family. But Sripathi has never been a lucky man. Now ageing and disenchanted, struggling to keep his job, Sripathi lives in the crumbling ancestral house with his lonely spinster sister, embittered mother, and a wife and son he hardly knows anymore. His only joy is his talented, vibrant daughter Maya. But when Maya marries Alan, a fellow student at her American university, Sripathi angrily cuts her off, until he receives a phone call from Vancouver informing him that Maya and her husband have been killed in a car crash. All Sripathi is left with are his regrets and Maya's seven-year-old daughter, Nandana. Confused and scared, little Nandana must move to India, and adjust to a life with the family she has never met before.

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Review:

The Hero's Walk, the second novel by Anita Rau Badami, is a big, intimate book, the kind that seldom strays beyond the doors of a single residence. Set in the sweltering streets of Toturpuram, a small city on the Bay of Bengal, The Hero's Walk, which won the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize for best book in Canada and the Caribbean, explores the troubled life of Sripathi Rao, an unremarkable, middle-aged family man and advertising copywriter.

As The Hero's Walk opens, Sripathi's life is already in a state of thorough disrepair. His mother, a domineering, half-senile octogenarian, sits like a tyrant at the top of his household, frightening off his sister's suitors, chastising him for not having become a doctor, and brandishing her hypochondria and paranoia with sinister abandon. It is Sripathi's children, however, who pose the biggest problems: Arun, his son, is becoming dangerously involved in political activism, and Maya, his daughter, broke off her arranged engagement to a local man in order to wed a white Canadian. Sripathi's troubles come to a head when Maya and her husband are killed in an automobile accident, leaving their 7- year-old daughter, Nandana, without Canadian kin. Sripathi travels to Canada and brings his granddaughter home, while his family is shaken by a series of calamities that may, eventually, bring peace to their lives. --Jack Illingworth

From the Inside Flap:

In a small, dusty Indian town near the Bay of Bengal, a middle-aged man lives in his crumbling ancestral home, uncomfortably aware of the encroaching modern world. Sripathi Rao's life hasn't turned out the way he thought it would: his job as a copywriter is unrewarding; his old widowed mother nags him; his unmarried forty-one-year-old sister is on the verge of sexual combustion; his only son resists gainful employment; and his silently resentful wife blames him for the estrangement of their daughter, who lives in Canada.

Then tragedy strikes: Sripathi's daughter and her husband have been killed in a car accident. Their seven-year-old child, Nandana, is about to become Sripathi's reluctant ward. Yet Nandana has never met her grandfather, has never been to India, and hasn't spoken a word since the tragedy. When Sripathi brings Nandana to India, life suddenly changes for everyone in the family, and the worn threads of Sripathi's world begin to unravel. Small, silent Nandana may be the one person who can bring harmony into the house and hope back into her grandfather's life.

Steeped in the colors, customs, and sensuality of India, The Hero's Walk presents a family in all its messy, glorious contradictions. With insight, humor, and compassion, The Hero's Walk shows the potential for heroism in ordinary lives.

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BADAMI ANITA RAU
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