The Hero's Walk

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The Hero's Walk

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Jan 21, 2012, 7:52am

Here is my review for The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami . It's also on the main page

The Hero's Walk is a somewhat sad, but beautifully told story. Happily the sorrow is leavened with the small humours of everyday living. There is something beautiful and lush about the story, and the insight to characters is rich and detailed.

The plot does move slowly and I expected it to focus more on the multi -racial Indian - Canadian child who is orphaned by her parents, Maya and Alan Baker. After both parents die early in the novel of a car crash, the father of Maya, Sripathi Rao , goes to Vancouver, Canada to pick up his one and only grandchild, Nandana and take her back to India. Father Sripathi Rao has been estranged from his now dead daughter, Maya, ever since she married a Canadian man. Young Nandana is just beginning grade 2 and is understandably shocked by the death of her parents and moving to the noisy and poor part of India. However, this is but a small part of the story. Sripathi Rao has had his confidence taken away by his still living mother, Ammayya, who is a tyrant in the Rao family home. She is a bitter, complaining woman and jealous of everyone. Not only has she eroded her son's confidence for most of his life, she also has forbidden her 42 year old daughter to marry, citing that each suitor is not worthy, because she prefers her daughter Putti , to wait on her hand and foot. Residing in the run down family home is also Sriapthi's wife, Nirmala, who has been worn down by her mother in law, Ammayya. Nirmala and Sripathi are in their early 50's , and their son Arun seems to be a somewhat shiftless lad , at least at first glance. This is the home that young Nandana suddenly finds herself living in.

There is much tension and anger in the Sripathi Rao home, most of it is from the passive anger and disappointment that each family member has for another. As the story meanders on, with the exception of one person, the family gradually changes and passivity gives way to anger and action. It's a rich and beautiful story, in which the small epiphanies of the character's result in most of them being Hero's in their own way.

The Hero's Walk is lovely, thought provoking story. 4 stars