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Set in colonial India, this richly layered coming-of-age tale follows a spirited young artist on a journey up the Ganges — and through the enigmas of her past.
How can Anila Tandy, left to fend for herself after her mother's death, dare to apply for a job that is clearly not meant for a woman? But somehow the "Bird Girl of Calcutta," art supplies in hand, finds herself on an eye-opening journey up the Ganges, apprenticed to a gentleman scientist. As the lush landscape slips by, Anila dives into her past — a past where her beautiful Bengali mother still tells stories and her Irish father's mysterious disappearance lingers. Gorgeously written and rich with atmosphere, Mary Finn's debut novel tells the story of a determined young artist who must make her way in the dangerous world of late-eighteenth-century India.
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Mary Finn worked for years as a magazine journalist with Radio Telefís Eireann, the Irish broadcasting service. She says ANILA'S JOURNEY, her first novel, was inspired by the story behind the eighteenth-century PORTRAIT OF AN INDIAN LADY painted by Thomas Hickey. Mary Finn lives in Dublin.From Booklist:
Set in late eighteenth-century India, this layered, atmospheric debut follows a girl’s archetypal search for her own history. At 14, Anila finds herself alone in Calcutta. After her Indian mother’s death and her guardians’ move to Madras, Anila chooses to stay behind, hoping that her father, an Irishman who disappeared years earlier, will return. Searching for work, she finds a posting for a draftsman with a British river expedition. A talented artist fluent in both Bengali and English, she secures the job, and the subsequent journey parallels Anila’s startling discovery of her own family story. Chapters on the river intersperse with those detailing Anila’s previous life, creating a meandering, sometimes disjointed narrative that may slow some readers. Many, though, will be captivated by Finn’s cinematic descriptions of places, people, and the complexities of colonial rule. The characters’ appreciation for beauty and the well-told stories add lyricism to every page. Anila’s profound yearning for family, belonging, and a sense of self will resonate with many teens, particularly those who, like Anila, are caught between cultures. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg
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Book Description Candlewick, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110763639168
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