Twelve-year-old Hari tries to make sense of his tumultuous and complex world in 1980's India. His experiment at eating fish leads to the accidental death of his grandmother; his preference for Hindi over his mother toungue Tamil leads to slanderous graffiti against his family in Madras; and his friendship with the family maid lands him in trouble with a militant Tamil film fan and political functonary called Vishu.
Matters come to a head when MGR, a film star turned politician dies and his supporters led by Vishu declare a railway strike, trapping Hari and his mother in a train bound for Madras...
"Anand Mahadevan engages all the reader's senses with writing that is visid and exotic, very often erotic, and touched throughout with gentle humour." - Gail Anderson-Dargatz
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Anand Mahadevan was born and raised in India. He came to Canada in 1996 had has been educated in the United States, Germany, and Canada. He lives, writes, and teaches in Toronto.Review:
From Quill and Quire:
The Strike casts the reader into 1980s India, where 12-year old Hari must make sense of a world in which borders between languages, classes, and religions are still part of everyday reality. The narrative opens with a moment of transgression and tragedy when Hari, who's a Brahmin and a vegetarian, eats forbidden fish and inadvertently causes the death of his grandmother. This propels Hari to question the arbitrary rules and divisions that govern his life and the rest of Indian society.
For the most part, Toronto author Mahadevan effectively uses his child narrator to survey and critique the hypocrisy and viciousness of his birth country's economic, social, and political structures. While the adults take most of these things for granted, Hari wants reasoned logic where so often there is none. Hari's desire for truth unmasks societal lies in a convincing way, although his constant demands that his elders explain their actions and assumptions are a little heavy-handed. Hari takes on more complexity as a character when the loss of his innocence leads to a much more ambivalent and fraught understanding of both personal and societal conflict.
The novel thus charts the turmoil within both the nation and Hari himself. The plot is straightforward but compelling, especially in the railway scenes, in which Hari finds himself in the centre of a tumultuous political strike. There, in the heightened atmosphere of the train, Hari must confront his unknowing complicity in the violence and corruption that accompany his privilege. The changes within Hari take on an urgency through the careful use of language that gives not only the sensory aspects of his journey, but also the emotional ones.
In the end, resolution eludes Hari. Instead, he must leave the societal tangles as they are and strike out on a new path for himself.
- Tara Lee
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Book Description TSAR Publications, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1894770307
Book Description TSAR Publications, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111894770307
Book Description Tsar Pubns, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition edition. 224 pages. 8.75x5.75x0.50 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 1894770307