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The Village By The Sea Mass Market Paperback – 1982
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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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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.
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. And it is indeed in Bombay where this delicate boy, who "never did talk much and always preferred to think things out very slowly and carefully before he did", will learn to fight and become a man.
A wonderful and delicate novel, one of Anita Desai's great achievements.