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Tell A Thousand Lies: A Novel Set In India [Kindle Edition]

Rasana Atreya , Pat Smith , Manoj Vijayan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.49
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Book Description

UK's Glam magazine calls 'Tell A Thousand Lies' one of their 'five favourite tales from India.'
***
In a land where skin colour can determine one's destiny, fraternal twins PULLAMMA and LATA are about to embark on a journey that will tear their lives apart.

Dark skinned Pullamma dreams of being a wife. With three girls in her family, the sixteen year old is aware there isn't enough dowry to secure suitable husbands for them all. But a girl can hope. She's well versed in cooking, pickle making, cow washing -- you name it. She's also obliged her old-fashioned grandmother by not doing well in school.

Fair skinned and pretty, her twin sister Lata would rather study medicine than get married. Unable to grasp the depth of Lata's desire, the twins' Grandmother formalizes a wedding alliance for the girl. Distraught, Lata rebels, with devastating consequences.

As Pullamma helps ready the house for her older sister Malli's bride viewing, she prays for a positive outcome to the event. What happens next is so inconceivable that it will shape Pullamma's future in ways she couldn't have foreseen.

A mainstream, multi-ethnic, world literature book from India, TELL A THOUSAND LIES is a sometimes wry, sometimes sad, but ultimately realistic look at how superstition and the colour of a girl's skin rules India's hinterlands.

If you like Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) or Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy), you might like this book.

Please note: British/Indian spellings used (jewellery, paediatrician, foetus etc.) These are not typos.


Product Description

About the Author

Rasana is the author of Amazon bestseller 'Tell A Thousand Lies', which was also shortlisted for the '2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award'. UK’s Glam magazine calls this novel one of their 'five favourite tales from India' (June 2014). Her other works are 'The Temple Is Not My Father' and '28 Years A Bachelor' (coming October 31, 2014).

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More About the Author

Rasana Atreya is a blogger, foodie and novelist living in Hyderabad, India. She is also the mother of two grade schoolers who are desperate for the chance to design the cover of her second book. She's still thinking about that one. Her first novel, Tell A Thousand Lies, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award, is an Amazon category bestseller.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
As a big fan of Indian literature or literature about India, I was really keen to get going with this novel and I was not disappointed. A strong and powerful four star read that I really enjoyed from beginning to end.
The summary gives the impression the reader follows the twins Pullamma and Lata in equal parts and I half expected the narrative to switch between the two sisters but in fact, we are given the story for Pullamma's perspective and her perspective is just perfect - honest, frank and direct. As a narrator, Pullamma is extremely strong and the author has done well to create a character that is so far from my own background but I could still closely relate to and empathise with her story.
As Pullamma dreams of marriage and children, Lata wants to excel in her studies and become a doctor, both dreams seem impossible from the outset. Pullamma's dark skin has been the bane of her life and is deemed the reason she cannot be married off whereas Lata is fair skinned and perfect for any suitor, apart from her defiance and determination to study. It's extremely interesting how the notion of skin colour is so central to the story but it plays throughout and isn't an uncommon theme in other Indian literature.
The novel is quite slow paced but it works in context. It's hard to categorise this novel, much of it has a political undertone as the characters are often at the mercy of their local political fiend Kondal Rao who focuses on and controls their family with devastating consequences. It is impossible not to root for Pullamma as she gets up from a thousand setbacks and continues towards her dreams. At the same time, it is hard not to feel some empathy for her sister Lata who finds herself forced along a path she would never have wanted and in response acts despicably.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful book. 6 Jun. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Three sisters, Pullamma, Lata and Malli have been brought up by their grandmother. The grandmother wants to find them a husband, but only two of the girls are "pretty". Pullamma is too dark to be considered attractive in 1980 India.

That's the theme in essence. We don't have anything to do with Malli (although her wedding brings us Kondal Rao and he's is going to be Pullamma's nightmare), Malli is married off from the start and we only begin to get to know Lata towards the end of the book. It's Pullamma's story and her that we life we get to know, but she's a girl very much of her time and heritage. All she wants is a husband and a family. Unlike her twin, Lata, she isn't interested in education.

In the beginning I did wonder if the book had too much "info dump" because there was a lot telling about how people from that culture lived, but before I realised I was hooked on Pullamma's story and found myself keen to finish. There were a few flashbacks that became a jumble at times, and I did wonder if the story was too "big" for the author, but overall I think Rasana Atreya did a very good job indeed. It was easy reading, and opened my eyes to how "free" Western culture is and how much it's taken for granted.

Pullamma, as a character, was delightful, although I found her too naive at times, especially as she openly trusted people even when, one after the other, they took advantage of her. Her husband was a character I couldn't warm to at all! I hoped Pullamma would dump him by the end of the story for being such a wuss and a pushover, but no, she "loved him".

Tell a Thousand Lies is a story I'm going to remember (for all the right reasons), I do think there was a lot packed into it, maybe too much?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Wow! What a lovely, lovely book "Tell a Thousand Lies" is! Once in a while, a story comes along which grips you from page 1, and its magic continues right until the very last page. Rasana Atreya paints a fascinating picture of contemporary India's struggle to uphold old traditions in the face of a changing world, where women long for a greater say in their lives, corrupt politicians will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve power and the uneducated masses are so easily influenced.

Some of the subject matter in this book is absolutely tragic in its realism, particularly the way family members can treat each other, even in the pursuit of what they deem is "right". However, this novel constantly encourages the reader to find out more, with great humour that cynically pokes fun at all aspects of life. The pace of the story is quite fast and action-packed, yet we are given ample opportunity to delve deep into each character's emotions and thoughts.

The most striking element of this book, for me, was the fortitude shown by the protagonist, Pullamma, as she pushes on through such hardship. Although filled with naive optimism as a sixteen-year-old bride, the reader goes on her journey into maturity with her. The author does not shy away from the mental strength Pullamma and others require while we witness every challenge and betrayal.

And, in case you're wondering, the ending is perfect!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Amanda
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In truth I think I would like to have given this book 3.5 stars as it really does lie between the 2 ratings. It took me a while to get into the storyline and characters but once I did it was compelling reading. On the slight negative side, the tragic event after tragic event did seem just a bit too far fetched for the story to have any really 'true' feel to it. But then I saw a collection of photographs in the Sunday Times titled "caste aside" and this included one of Love Commandos who protect lovers (from different castes) from their families - and, of course, we hear too often about honour killings - which made me think that perhaps the novel's tragic events, along similar lines, were not so far fetched after all.

At the end of the day, it was a disturbing but interesting insight into Indian culture and corruption and I will be looking out for the next novel from this author with interest!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting story.
Published 3 hours ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A bit heavy going but gives an interesting insight into the lives of village girls in India.
Published 1 day ago by Jan
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire & Disappointing
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. The author has told some lies in pretending that this is a book for adults to enjoy. Read more
Published 25 days ago by absolutebookworm
1.0 out of 5 stars all I can say is a really bad Bollywood movie
I was really looking forward to reading this book after all 5 star reviews, I'm still shocked at how many positive feedbacks this book has, but after reading the book, I try to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nicky
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 1 month ago by JACQUELINE HAY
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Disappointed, started well and then it went all over the place.
Published 1 month ago by Melanie Jane Coe
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking novel
If this book had not been set in India it would have been 'far-fetched', as some reviewers have said. Read more
Published 1 month ago by I. Black
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tousand Lies
Wow, this is not set a hundred years ago its set in the 80's a story of strong women and how they got through sad time and bad times. Read more
Published 1 month ago by nad
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
LOVED IT. AMAZING STORY. ALMOST LEAVES YOU WITH TEARS
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars touching story
A lovely story, very touching. The characters where beautifully written. The Indian practices and traditions are in many ways shocking but gave this story a true feel.
Published 3 months ago by Tracey Fullerton
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