Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Book Review: A Walk Across The Sun by Corban Addison

Book: A Walk Across The Sun

Author: Corban Addison

Pages: 371

Read on: Kindle

Read in: 4-5 hours

Plot Summary: When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. With almost everyone they know suddenly erased from the face of the earth, the girls set out for the convent where they attend school. They are abducted almost immediately and sold to a Mumbai brothel owner, beginning a hellish descent into the bowels of the sex trade.

Halfway across the world, Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces his own personal and professional crisis-and makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical working in India for an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent's human traffickers. There, his conscience awakens as he sees firsthand the horrors of the trade in human flesh, and the corrupt judicial system that fosters it. Learning of the fate of Ahalya and Sita, Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue them, setting the stage for a riveting showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals.

Things I Liked: Here's the list: 

1. We'd read The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison a couple of years ago and had sort-of liked it. It got a solid 3.5 from us (my sister and I) and so, when I saw this book on sale on Amazon, I thought why not?! The premise seemed decent and, moreover, the story was set in India against the backdrop of the 2004 tsunami that devastated several parts of the eastern Indian coast along with Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. So, this felt like it would be a good book to read. 

2. This book is fairly expansive. As in, it moves across countries and you get to see the seedy underbellies of some of the biggest cities in the world- Paris, New York and even aamchi Mumbai. Reading about the human trafficking network in so many countries and the ways in which they operate was fairly enlightening as well. 

3. The book does a good job of bringing Mumbai alive. The descriptions of various parts of the city- Bandra, Napean Sea Road, Santa Cruz and Kamathipura- seem fairly on point. 

Things I Didn't Like: Here is a list: 

1. The book starts on the morning of the tsunami- a cataclysmic event in which the Ghai sisters lose their parents and their grandmother. Now, unlike any sensible 17-year old, who'd probably just hunker down at home or find any surviving neighbours, this Ahalya chick decides to make her way to her nun at her boarding school. This is a family of means. The author refers to the Ghai's Land Rover (not a car a middle class family can afford) and for two girls from such a family, I can assure you they will have options that don't include feeling completely adrift and lost and heading back to school instead of going to a hospital or a police station. 

2. The book is terribly rambly! There is a lot of unnecessary details and the story meanders a lot, especially, once the action shifts to America. I couldn't wait for this book to get over! 

3. While Ahalya's fate seems more realistic, Sita is luckier than the luckiest of four-leaf clover! Whatever happens (or *SPOILER* does not happen) to her is a bit nuts! 

4. In certain parts of the book Ahalya seemed really, overly naive. Like even stupid! She is 17 from a major city in India in 2004! Not in 1806! So many of her actions and decisions seem like they are of a girl from a rural and uneducated background and not someone with accesses to a decent education and means. Perhaps a little more research on how 17-year old girls from wealthy families in Chennai think and behave would have made this story and book a LOT more relatable! 

Rating: 2.5/5 

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