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Tiger Hills Paperback – 6 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753827794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753827796
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.7 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

It was ancient custom in Coorg to bury the umbilical cord of a newborn. Past the jungle undergrowth, tucked among root and shale, deep into the earth. It served as a talisman, it was believed, a beacon showing the way home. So that no matter how far one went, no matter the distance nor the passage of time, ever this electric longitude, pointed towards home.

Perhaps inevitably then, when I began to write Tiger Hills, Coorg was the setting that naturally unfurled. My words, echoing my grandfather's as he tells us stories around an oil lamp. The great-grandmother, widowed young, who walked her fields alone, a dagger tucked into her blouse. These stories and others, my roots, sunk for generations into these hills.

While Coorg forms the highly personalized canvas of Tiger Hills, I wanted to write a story almost classical in structure - a large narrative, whose characters struggle with universal themes. What do we do when thrust into circumstances not of our choosing? Tiger Hills explores the nexus between fortitude and acceptance, the choices we make in the aftermath of happenstance and the far-reaching impact they can carry. Determined not to be victimized, Devi fights for happiness the best she can. She isn't always easy to like and makes some decisions that are far from right. And yet, who was truly the victim and who the aggressor?

As she forges a life for herself within the parameters decided for her, Devi hardens. To such an extent however, that she becomes wedded to a version of happiness too rooted in memory to ever become real. When is it best to let go, to seek happiness along new roads, even those previously discounted?

Devi's story lies at the core of Tiger Hills, but it is the other stories, unvoiced, like a dried flower lying pressed within the pages of a book, that form its undercurrent. A missionary, searching for something he cannot express; an orphan, single minded in his devotion; a boy, marked by both the mother who leaves him to the care of another as well as the legend of a father barely remembered. Different interpretations of love - obsessive, possessive, filial; the ways we wield them to undo one another, the suffering we invite upon those we hold dearest.

Finally, redemption. Tiger Hills is an exploration of our all too human need to come full circle, for reconciliation; and the idea that often, it lies well within our grasp.

Learn more about Tiger Hills at www.facebook.com/tigerhillssaritamandanna

Sarita Mandanna belongs to the stunning landscapes of Coorg, the setting of Tiger Hills. Her family history extends for centuries through these hills, famous for their coffee plantations and often described as the 'Scotland of India'. She has a PGDM from the Indian Institute of Management, an MBA from the Wharton Business School, and was most recently a private equity investor in New York City. Tiger Hills is her debut novel. It is being translated into 14 languages around the world, including French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Hebrew, Hungarian, Dutch, Russian, Slovenian and Greater Chinese. A TV Book Club pick for 2011, Tiger Hills was also longlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize.

Product Description


Lavish...Sarita Mandanna's fusion of history and romance makes for an aromatic blend. (Boyd Tonkin INDEPENDENT)

'An epic and extraordinary debut from an astonishing talent.' (Caroline Jowett DAILY EXPRESS)

Tragic in parts but ultimately a beautifully written saga, this is the emergence of a major new talent (Virgina Blackburn SUNDAY EXPRESS)

An epic love story from start to finish (BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH)

Mandanna fuses history and romance to tell a vivid story, painting pictures that reverberate in the mind. (OXFORD TIMES)

Sweet novel about a secret love. (HEAT MAGAZINE)

More than alove story, Tiger Hills explores the hazardous side of passion and the shackling grip of memory once love has been thwarted. (INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE / NEW YORK TIMES)

An epic, exotic love story...It is a blockbuster debut from Sarita Mandanna that will be in many beach bags this summer. (SANDWELL CHRONICLE)

Book Description

THE THORN BIRDS meets A SUITABLE BOY in this epic tale of a forbidden love that will last for generations.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By GoodReads on 14 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Tiger Hills is a sweeping multi-generational epic narrative spanning the 19th and 20th centuries and takes us through the lives of the three main protagonists Devi, Devanna and Machu, with an extensive supporting cast each a minor character in their own right; my personal favorite is Tayi.

The evocative imagery of the opening chapter transported me to the lush landscape of Coorg in southern India, where I stayed through the end of the novel and lingered long after. The plot is well paced, and the richly drawn characters gradually reveal themselves over the course of the novel. Although the story is set in a particular time and place, the themes of rootedness, love, loss, choices and their consequences that we encounter in the book are universal in scope.

This is an excellent book, exceptionally well written with a tight narrative structure and evocative fluid prose. Fans of historical fiction will fully recognize the time and effort invested by the author on extensive research for the period setting of the novel.

A must read for anyone who appreciates great prose and loves a well told story.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mark Shackelford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book immediately grabs your attention with it's descriptions of landscape and people, with prose of such elegant literary quality that enhances the story and makes the book such a pleassure to read. A veritable feast for the senses.

A well-paced plot brings in the well written cast, who gently reveal their characters as the story unfolds. The story explores the rich themes of love and loss. Wonderful evocation of the main family and its relationship with the land, makes this book a delight to read. We learn much of the history and culture without having it thrust upon us.

There is great empathy with the women's roles and the forces that constrain their lives, and the consequences of a strong-willed woman trying to break away from the restraints of her society.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By C. Moorby VINE VOICE on 1 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
From the very outset, the book draws you into the magical, mysterious Coorg region in India. The touch of the exotic permeates the entire narrative, but does become a little tiresome when it hinders the flow of the text.

Mandanna's greatest success with the novel is the way she evokes the landscape, culture, characters and general atmosphere surrounding her story. Indeed, through her skill for writing, she introduces a Western readership to an otherwise undiscovered part of India. Following a young Indian girl, Devi, from her youth into old age, the narrative throws up the classic themes of life, love and loss. However, deveiled of the Eastern mystery, the novel is not overly different from many such book gracing the shelves of book shops.

When it comes down to it, the story in itself isn't overly interesting and is even implausible in places. However, the wider picture, such as the exotic location, cultural touches and historical references to colonisation bind together to form a spellbinding read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Admittedly, I came to TIGER HILLS because of the TV Bookclub. If it had not been for that, I am not sure that I would have chosen it myself. However, I was pleasantly surprised. TIGER HILLS is a sweeping saga which follows the lives of Devi and Devanna - two children who, once they become friends, become almost inseparable. However, one night when Devi is still only young, she meets the Tiger Killer, Machu, and makes a decision which ultimately has consequences for many years to come.

The theme of consequences, of how actions by one person often has consequences for not just that person but also for others in their lives, is a recurring one throughout the book. Love, sacrifice and grief are others - the sacrifices that we make for those we love and the sacrifices which may be forced upon us.

What I really loved about TIGER HILLS was the way in which Mandanna brought the land alive through her prose. She really did manage to transport me along, making me smell the smells, hear the wind and see the colours. Being a lover of nature, Devanna's passion for botany really came to life through the pages for me, and I truly enjoyed these passages of the novel.
So, why only four stars? Well, first of all, I cannot truly say that I liked Devi. I found her selfish - although I appreciate that Mandanna wanted to write her as a strong female, I felt that this strength often veered off towards selfishness too often. Secondly, the front of the book mentions that the land is in turmoil - this, I did not really get from the book. Yes, there are sections which talk about Manchu being in the army, but they make up a small fraction of the overall plot. Finally, as the book neared the end of the book, some of its hold lessened on me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and I rarely read books which are sagas. After this, I am looking forward to seeing what Mandanna has in store for us next.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Tuck on 1 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
I have just finished this book and thought it was very good. It is not what I expected from reading the blurb on the back but offered a number of surprises taking the story away from the formulaic to something I was gripped to keep reading till the end. The 2 main characters are both likeable yet at times with both of them you are annoyed at them for their actions. Their relationships with parents and children are complex and the autor does a very good job of evoking the sights and smells of the plantation. My only concern was I felt it was a bit rushed towards the end with a lot happening in a few pages but despite that would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good family saga to keep them interested.
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