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Gifted [Kindle Edition]

Nikita Lalwani
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A sparkling funny and poignant study of a young maths prodigy struggling with her gift and a difficult family (Gerard Woodward, , Books of the Year Observer)

Superb, brilliantly realised. The searing narrative is unflinchingly and tenderly written (Independent)

Pinpoints with genuine insight the bewilderment and anguish of a young woman marked out from her peers (Sunday Times)

Lalwani's evocation of teenage dislocation is pitch-perfect and she inhabits her heroine's interior world with tender authority (Guardian)

The novel's triumph is in elucidating the hurt of both child and parents. Lalwani compellingly depicts the pain and pleasure of breaking the rules (New Statesman)

Beautiful, brilliant . . . Unveils the grand emotions and tiny details of other people's lives with insight, compassion, humour and heartbreaking honesty (Stephen Merchant)

Accomplished and confident. Much to admire from the assured descriptions to the well judged blend of comedy and drama (The Times)

A poignant, vivid debut. Beautifully describes the dramas of growing up (, Book of the Month Marie Claire)

A giddy portrayal of youthful exuberance unleashed that rings startlingly true (Metro)

Compelling, heart-wrenching and laced with redemptive hope . . . Touching and funny (Observer)

Product Description

Cardiff in the 1980s is a place where maths can get you noticed. Rumis Vasi is the town's 'maths prodigy': untangling numbers and Rubik's Cubes protects her from the harsh vagaries of the playground and gives a pattern to her world. But after years of her father's determined tutoring, Rumi finds that numbers are beginning to lose their innocence. India infuses her with a romantic sense of belonging and, as she grows older, and desire becomes a dirty word in the Vasi household, the idea of love is opened up to painful examination.

In a voice that is by turns very funny and fiercely tender, Nikita Lalwani brings us a captivating story of high aspirations and deep longing, and of the sometime loneliness of childhood.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 398 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (27 Oct 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005UAHYR2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #181,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of great power 28 April 2008
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Gifted is a novel of great power and enormous anger.

As the title suggests, the novel centres around a young girl, Rumi, who is found to have a gift for maths. Her parents - particularly her frightening father - decide the gift must be nurtured at all costs.

There are three principal characters, Rumi and her parents, Mahesh and Shreene. As a father figure, Mahesh would not have been out of place in Victorian Britain. He is strong, pious, bullying and hypocritical. Having inveigled his wife, Shreene, to follow him to Wales from India to make a better life, he sets about rejecting western values whilst enjoying them to the full. He prohibits his wife, an educated woman, from flourishing and exerts a huge degree of control on her time. Whilst this makes Shreene initially angry, she eventually seems to adopt the same values as Mahesh in order to make it appear as though she is in control o her destiny.

Then, when Rumi's gift is discovered, Mahesh finds a new opportunity to exert his control. Rumi's life ceases to be her own - a tight regime of libraries, study, discipline and obedience are imposed. Rumi tries to find small outlets for her individuality, sneakily reading fiction and pilfering sweets, but the brutality of her father constantly wins through. All Rumi can do is dream of outgrowing the nest and making an early journey away to university. Obviously, with her "gifts", Rumi finds a degree of celebrity which is not always helpful, particularly given her destiny to be younger and less mature than her peers. Both in Cardiff and in Oxford, she is something of a lab rat - expected to be a second Ruth Lawrence - but is at heart a likeable and ordinary girl.

The characterization is superb. The three principal characters strike so many chords.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars reader review of Gifted by Nikita Lalwani 28 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written account of the very difficult youth and early adolescence of a Hindu girl living in England with her parents and younger brother. The girl shows a talent for maths at an early age, and this is aggressively pursued by her father, who is determined that she will set a record as the youngest person to take A Levels and gain entrance to Oxford. The father's obsessive bullying of his daughter to realise his ambition for her is intensely painful to read and, when combined with the whole family's acute sense of isolation as an Indian family living in the UK, makes the book sometimes almost unbearable. This is not a 'misery memoir' by any stretch of the imagination, however, and the central character emerges as a real person, full of contradictions and confusions, and is created with great skill by the author. Well worth reading, but be ready for a real sense of anguish at the heart of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding story telling 13 Dec 2008
By Tushar
This is a brilliantly told tale of a young girl, with a gift for mathematics, and her parents, who want with good intentions, push her as hard as they can academically. The writer develops the main characters very skillfully allowing you to really understand their motives, perspectives and confusion as to why the family begins to fracture.

This is one of the rare books that I couldn't put down while reading - the style and pace of the writing perfect and story unfolds in an unpredictable and captivating way. I can't wait for the author's next book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly captivating novel 23 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was compelled to purchase this book after it was mentioned in conversation at a party in Kensington. It follows the life of Arran Fernandez's female Indian counterpart, Rumika Vasi, as she endures the mathematical and social challenges associated with educational acceleration.

The protagonist feels increasingly constrained by the strict and tyrannical regime of study imposed by her father, Mahesh, as she ploughs through her maths GCSE and A-level exams several years ahead of her classmates. Meanwhile, she struggles to integrate (socially, that is -- she can compute antiderivatives perfectly well!) with her friends due to the cultural and intellectual disparity.

Rumi relishes the escape from Mahesh's control when she enrols at Oxford aged merely fourteen. But premature matriculation is not without its drawbacks; being thrust into the cannibalistic-canine world of university at such a young age presents Rumi with a plethora of problems and predicaments...
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I grew up in Cardiff, living first on the edge of Splott, then in Llanedeyrn Road and went on to Swansea University so reading Nikita Lalwani's debut novel, published in 2007, was a rather strange but pleasurable experience.

At the centre of the book is Rumika (Rumi) Vasi, just over 10 years old when we first meet her, the daughter of a Marxist mathematician and a university graduate mother. She is also a mathematical prodigy and her controlling father, Mahesh, is determined that she will fully deliver her full potential. From an early age, Rumi is trained like East German athletes used to be, she is under a regime that determines what she eats and when, how long she studies after school and her father "believed that the atmosphere had to be below body temperature if she was to achieve true focus". Rumi's mother, Shreene is equally controlling in her determination that her daughter's life will proceed as hers did towards an arranged marriage. What she fears most is that her daughter will say or do something that embarrasses the family.

Rumi's talent is revealed, at the age of five, by a teacher but her father cannot show his pleasure "Why was she so surprised that he and his daughter could string numbers together with reasonable panache? They were hardly shopkeepers."

Rumi, finding great enjoyment in her mathematical skills first questions the route that has been planned out for her when she cannot do the things that her school friends do, watch television, snack or attend birthday parties.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read.
Published 1 month ago by Dunning
4.0 out of 5 stars Gifted
These books need to be chewed over and digested. Would not wish to short change the writer. Need to finish it first. Shall return.
Published 12 months ago by Stephen Archer
4.0 out of 5 stars Destroyed By Talent
This poignant novel tells the story of Rumi Vasar, an Indian child prodigy at mathematics growing up in Cardiff, and the effect her gift has on her family and her own life. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Kate Hopkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Being gifted is not always a gift
At the age of five Rumi had been identified by her school in Cardiff as having remarkable mathematical gifts. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ralph Blumenau
4.0 out of 5 stars Fathers and Daughters
Rumika Vasi goes to Oxford University age 16. She is a maths prodigy schooled by her father's obsession. The narrative is mainly from Rumi's point of view. Read more
Published 21 months ago by gerardpeter
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding
Just 3 main characters and it still kept me reading into the wee hours of the night. The writing is beautiful and all the characters are wonderfully drawn. Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2011 by Dan
2.0 out of 5 stars Gifted - surely not the author!
I found it really hard to engage with this book. I just found it really dull and the story line just didn't grab me. As for the closing sentence - tackyville!
Published on 18 Nov 2009 by Sophie A. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
I have just finished reading the translated edition (in greek) of this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published on 15 July 2009 by nassia
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