Peres da Costa, Suneeta.

ISBN 10: 1582340609 / ISBN 13: 9781582340609
Published by New York: Bloomsbury, (1999). dj, 1999
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About this Item

SIGNED hardcover first edition - First US printing. First book by this young Australian writer - the story of a very unconventional family of Indian emigrants in Australia as told by 6 year old Mina - a story of madness and despair gradually overtaking the family, but also of love and humor. Fine in fine dust jacket. Boldly SIGNED on the title page, and uncommon thus. Bookseller Inventory # 33073

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: New York: Bloomsbury, (1999). dj

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Homework, an exquisite first novel by this remarkable 22-year-old writer, tells the story of Mina Pereira, born with antennae on top of her head which reflect all she feels, standing straight up with excitement, or drooping with humiliation. With a touch of magical realism, the author paints a lush portrait of Mina's childhood.

Mina Pereira longs for a conventional childhood, but it's no wonder-- with the barometric protrusions wired to her brain--she feels a bit like the outsider. What's worse is her overwhelmingly precocious sister, Deepa (she's read all of Dostoevsky by the time she is eight years old), and her younger sister, Shanti, normal beyond reproach. Mina's mother, whose recent illness leaves her barren and literally roosting in trees, doesn't help matters. Mina worries for her mom's well being and while she seeks ways to give her solace, only ends up disappointing her. Mina's father, a revolutionary at heart, manages to pass along heroic advice, even if it does preclude Mina from joining the club of girl scouts. Still, he and Mina share a special bond, although as his wife becomes less and less sane, he retreats from the family, spending more and more of his time in the basement, tinkering. As madness takes hold of Mina's family, the house they live in falls further and further into disrepair until Dad tinkers one time too many with disastrous results. Through all of Mina's experiences, she comes to an understanding about love and family-with not a little heartache, but with maturity and clarity and ultimately, a deep humanity. Homework is poignant, enchanting and beautifully told.


The narrator of Suneeta Peres da Costa's Homework was born with antennae on her head, and no matter what surgery doctors attempt, they keep growing back. One doctor doesn't see much of a problem, though he does admit that Mina Pereira "might be a little sensitive, that's all, there are enough nerve endings in those things for lightning to strike them!" Over time Mina comes to think of them as her "feelers," through which she receives a heightened perception of the emotions flowing through the atmosphere around her. And what a highly charged atmosphere the Pereira house holds: Mina's mother is suffering a breakdown that leads her to become obsessed with birds--to the point of trying to become one. Her father has responded by donning a miner's helmet and retreating into the basement. Meanwhile, Mina's child-genius sister scorns her and her schoolmates consider her a freak of nature.

Peres da Costa's first novel is the heartbreaking story of a little girl's struggle to survive a family so dysfunctional that it constantly teeters on the edge of chaos. Though the author was born in 1977, her writing is astonishingly mature, her blend of bright humor and raw pain reminiscent of Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum and of early Ian McEwan. An extraordinary debut infused with Goan spice. --Anna Davis

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