Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Book Review: The Village by the Sea by Anita Desai.


Book: The Village by the Sea

Author: Anita Desai

Pages: 278

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 1 day

Plot Summary: Forgotten by the evolution of the centuries and indifferent to the advances of the twentieth century, Thul, a tiny fishing village not far from Bombay, continues to follow those rhythms of the seasons that have always been handed down. Hari and Lila were born and raised in the village, but now their family is falling into despair: the father to alcohol while the mother is seriously ill. As for money, that there is not even enough to meet the most basic needs between.

General Thoughts: I am a huge fan of Anita Desai and when I saw that she had a children's book to her credit I wanted to give it a read and see if her writing is any different when she is writing for a younger audience. It isn't. :) Her writing is still as amazing as ever! And though this is children's book it works just as well for adult readers. I absolutely loved it!

Things I Liked:

1. The writing was lovely- as usual. Given it was meant for a much younger audience than her other books, the writing here was simple and easy to follow yet it retained the beauty of her prose.

2. The setting of this book was amazing. This little village by the sea- Thul, came alive in the pages of this book, as did it's inhabitants and their daily life.

3. The characters of this book are so wonderfully crafted and they came across as real and authentic. Apart from our main characters- Lila and Hari and their siblings, even the side characters, even those who have a fleeting presence in the book are memorable and nicely fleshed out.

4. Lila..she such a wonderful character to get to know and a nice role-model for younger readers.

5. Hari is real. He is human and he is flawed. I thought I'd hate him...given he runs away to Bombay and abandons his sisters, but I surprisingly liked him and sympathised with him and rooted for him.

6. One of the best parts of this book were the kindness of strangers. Whether it is the wealthy De Dilva family- who occasionally visits Thul and are kind to Lila and her sisters and their mother or the people Hari meets in Bombay- people who don't have much to begin with- yet shower him with kindness and generosity. I love reading about kind people and I think the world needs more kind and gentle people. And we definetly need more stories about kindness.

7. Another great message that this book talks of is change. And more importantly the inevitability of change and for need to adapt to change. The book does it subtely and does it very well. Things, situations, life and circumstances change all the time and we have no control over it, so it's in our best interest to adapt to it.

8. I loved the Bombay bits of this story. Sure Bombay is my town and I generally love reading about it but seeing is through the eyes of a young village boy and seeing how scary and overwhelming it can be, was very interesting.

9. This book was originally written and published in 1982 but it is still relevant and didn't seem dated at all.

10. This is a great book for kids. It tells a nice story and teaches them important things. I also think kids could do with reading about those who aren't as blessed or fortunate as them and learn to appreciate and be grateful for all their blessings.

Rating: 4.5/5

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