From the widely acclaimed author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, a powerful and triumphantly beautiful novel set in contemporary India, about a young woman forging a new life in the foothills of the Himalayas.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2011 MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE HINDU LITERARY PRIZE FOR BEST FICTION 2011
With her debut novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, Anuradha Roy’s exquisite storytelling instantly won readers’ hearts around the world, and the novel was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and The Seattle Times. Now, Roy has returned with another masterpiece that is already earning international prize attention, an evocative and deeply moving tale of a young woman making a new life for herself amid the foothills of the Himalaya.
Desperate to leave a private tragedy behind, Maya abandons herself to the rhythms of the little village, where people coexist peacefully with nature. But all is not as it seems, and she soon learns that no refuge is remote enough to keep out the modern world. When power-hungry politicians threaten her beloved mountain community, Maya finds herself caught between the life she left behind and the new home she is determined to protect.
Elegiac, witty, and profound by turns, and with a tender love story at its core, The Folded Earth brims with the same genius and love of language that made An Atlas of Impossible Longing an international success and confirms Anuradha Roy as a major literary talent.
After her husband, Michael, dies in a mountain-climbing mishap, Maya flees to the tiny Himalayan town of Ranikhet to escape her past and find peace. While teaching English at a Christian school, she befriends her teenage neighbor and milk delivery girl, Charu, whose lover, Kundan, has recently left the village to work in Delhi. Though he sends Charu letters, she cannot read or write. Maya takes on the role of interlocutor initially, but soon begins teaching Charu so that she can continue the epistolary romance on her own. Meanwhile, Maya finds herself caught up in an unexpected love affair with her landlord's nephew, Veer. Though she has acclimated well to life in the village ("I became a hill person who was only at peace where the earth rose and fell in waves like the sea"), the premature death of her husband still haunts her. Veer seems to be the key to overcoming her grief, but revelations of his past threaten the emotional enclave Maya has fashioned for herself in the lush Indian hills. Similar to the pace of life in the village, Roy's follow-up to An Atlas of Impossible Longing is occasionally slow going but her musical writing and strong imagery compensate, and individual moments sparkle.
Well written, but a bit boring
I’ve loved Roy’s other books but I had trouble sticking through this one. I was not very interested in the characters, and then Roy rushed us through some of the most compelling moments. Charu’s storyline, for example, ends abruptly, and we later learn that Charu married her ambivalent lover and is living in Singapore, but we never understand how exactly things unfolded between them after her journey to Delhi. I was also left wanting more about Veer — why was he such a terrible person? Where did he go? What happens to Maya after her moment of vengeance? Too much is left up to the reader.