"In The Age of Shiva India's birth as a new nation parallels a woman's complex psychological journey confronting tradition and modernity. Exchanging sentimentality for clear vision, Suri reveals an immense humanity, and a tenderness for women making their way in a world of men. Drawn by this compelling narrative, I read this marvelous book in one sitting." —Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss, recipient of the Man Booker PrizeFollowing his spectacular debut, The Death of Vishnu, Manil Suri returns with a mesmerizing story of modern India, richly layered with themes from Hindu mythology. The Age of Shiva is at once a powerful story of a country in turmoil and an extraordinary portrait of maternal love. Meera, the narrator, is seventeen years old when she catches her first glimpse of Dev, performing a song so infused with passion that it arouses in her the first flush of erotic longing. She wonders if she can steal him away from Roopa, her older, more beautiful sister, who has brought her along to see him. When Meera’s reverie comes true, it does not lead to the fairy-tale marriage she imagined. She escapes her overbearing father only to find herself thrust into the male-dominated landscape of India after independence. Dev’s family is orthodox and domineering, his physical demands oppressive. His brother Arya lusts after her with the same intensity that fuels his right-wing politics. Although Meera develops an unexpected affinity with her sister-in-law Sandhya, the tenderness they share is as heartbreaking as it is fleeting. It is only when her son is born that Meera begins to imagine a life of fulfillment. She engulfs him with a love so deep, so overpowering, that she must fear its consequences. Meera's unforgettable story, embodying Shiva as a symbol of religious upheaval, places The Age of Shiva among the most compelling novels to emerge from contemporary India.
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Manil Suri’s first novel, The Death of Vishnu, won the 2002 Barnes and Noble Discover Prize and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. He lives in Maryland, where he is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.From AudioFile:
In the 1950s, Meera is pushed into a marriage that takes her from the wealthy upper-class household she grew up in. She finds herself part of an orthodox lower-class family living a hand-to-mouth existence in the provinces. Her husband is a self-pitying alcoholic, so she focuses on motherhood, becoming immersed in the life of her young son, upon whom she dotes. Josephine Bailey's narration is tight and restrained, a style that is consistent with the constraints of Meera's life. Similarly, Bailey's pace is deliberate and steady, except during the story's few momentous events. In those moments, Bailey is true to Meera's character, giving depth to her passion but holding it in check. J.E.M. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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