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The Village by the Sea Paperback – 6 Dec 2001

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Paperback, 6 Dec 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; New Ed edition (6 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141312718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141312712
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Anita Desai was born and brought up in India and has written widely for both adults and children. She has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has won the Guardian Fiction Award.


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First Sentence
When Lila went out on the beach it was so early in the morning that there was no one else there. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Set against the backdrop of a seemingly timeless coastal Indian fishing village, Anita Desai's moving story demonstrates that even the most beautiful rural outpost cannot avoid the powerful thrust of modernisation. As the impending arrival of chemical factories threaten local livelihoods, teenager Hari is forced to leave his native village Thul in search of a fortune that he believes can only be found in the glamorous and enticing city of Bombay. With three dependant sisters, a sick mother and a drunken father to provide for, Hari is devastated to discover that the streets of Bombay are not paved with gold as he had anticipated.
Based on true events, Desai tells a story of human endeavour against the odds of grinding poverty, monsoon destruction and fatal illness. A forerunner to Arundhati Roy's 'The God of Small Things', 'The Village by the Sea' is also written through a childhood perspective, but unlike Roy, Desai does not underscore her narrative with adult judgements and cynicism. Childhood dreams and disillusionment are skilfully intertwined with a powerful sense of place and a breathtaking landscape which is on the brink of irreversible change. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning some of the truths about the diverse country of India.
1 Comment 15 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Anita Desai's wonderful novel tells the story of a family living in the small fishing village of Thul, 14 kilometres from Bombay, India. It is more precisely the story of two young people, Hari, a boy of 14, and Lila, a girl of 13, with a will to survive. Their task is not easy. Lila has to look after their mother who is very ill with fever and requires constant care. She is also in charge of all the household chores and has to look after their two younger sisters, Bela and Kamal. Hari on the other hand has to work in the fields, selling whatever he can at the market to feed the family. Indeed, their father has long ceased to be a fisherman, his sole occupation being to get drunk on toddy every night along with his chums in the village.
Fortunately next to their hut is a large country house called Mon Repos which is owned by the de Silvas from Bombay and whenever they come on holiday to Thul, Lila and Hari can earn some extra money by helping with the household or doing work in the garden. But there is a rumour in the village saying that soon the rice fields and the coconut groves will be replaced by a large fertiliser factory. The location of Thul was chosen by the Government for its closeness to the port of Rewas. So new highways and railway lines are to be build and the villagers are worried about their future. Are they skilled enough to get a job at the factory? What will become of their traditional way of life? Will the air and the sea be polluted by chemicals? When a delegation is sent to Bombay to express their worries to the Minister Sahib, Hari decides to join the party. Before leaving, he decides that Bombay may offer him a better life opportunity than his frightened sisters, his sad house, his ill mother and his drunken father.
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Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I picked this up expecting perfectly crafted prose - given this is written by a well recognised novelist - but gained the impression it had been dashed off: written in ill-considered haste. It was full of - I think not deliberate - word repetitions and felt like it was in need of a good edit. Yes the story is a poignant one, but with a little more care it could have been a lot more powerful. I didn't get the impression her characters knew their local wildlife as well as they should have done. There were also a few plot points which didn't ring true. I don't want to give away the end, but the change in the father was - to me, a practising physician - not believable. All in all this was disappointing from this lauded author.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book about an asain family growing up in a village by the sea. Anita Desai has written extremely well, incorporating what life may have been like from a child's perspective. This is a book which is worth buying for your bookshelf.
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Lots of children in my class have enjoyed reading this from my book corner. I would recommend it for children in key stage 2
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I bought this for my niece as gift. Surprisingly she asked me more about India. What can I say, I have to read it too.. in the third world country, it's common to see such a life. But the most important for my niece education is how we face the world.
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A lovely book depicting the difference between city and village life in India. The characters all were so real and it was a charming story. Was the first book by Anita that I have read but will be reading many more.
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