Like Vikram Seth's A SUITABLE BOY, THE HOUSE OF BLUE MANGOES tells many stories in one, each slipping effortlessly into the other and ultimately entwined. Three generations of an ancient family come and go in Chevathar, the village by the sea. First there is Solomon, the patriarch, manoevuring to keep the peace as caste struggles begin to encroach ...
Like Vikram Seth's A SUITABLE BOY, THE HOUSE OF BLUE MANGOES tells many stories in one, each slipping effortlessly into the other and ultimately entwined. Three generations of an ancient family come and go in Chevathar, the village by the sea. First there is Solomon, the patriarch, manoevuring to keep the peace as caste struggles begin to encroach on the village. Then there is the story of Solomon's sons, their fortunes rising and falling as India begins its struggle for independence. Finally, there is the story of Solomon's grandson, perhaps the last of the line, making his own stand for independence. A host of characters enliven these pages - from Father Ashcroft, the English priest washed up in a forgotten corner of the empire, to Mrs Wilkins the planter's wife who clings to the old ascendancy, to Joshua, the prodigal son who leads the battle on the beach, to Daniel and Aaron, brothers at war, and to Helen, an Anglo-Indian beauty who brings about the final disintegration of the family. This is a glorious, generous, and exhilarating read.
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New in new dust jacket. SHIP DAILY from NJ; GLOSSY, UNREAD, PRISTINE FIRST; NEW w/DJ NEW AS SHOWN THIS PHOTO. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 432 p. Audience: General/trade. 6915 6915 "The House of Blue Mangoes" tells the story of the Dorai family in south India during a time of tremendous political and social upheaval. Sophisticated, filled with brilliant historical and emotional insight, enlivened by touches of humor and deeply felt tragedy that draw on the author's own family history.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-12-03 Thoroughly engrossing in its take on the recent history of the Indian subcontinent, Davidar's rich debut follows three generations of a wealthy, non-Brahmin Christian family as they struggle to preserve tradition and rise to the challenge of change. The Dorai family's livelihood comes from their groves of mango trees bearing a rare variety of the succulent fruit. In 1899, patriarch Solomon Dorai, thalaivar (headman) of the village of Chevathar, in Kerala, faces a threat to his leadership when caste and tribal acrimony explode into violence. Later, one of Solomon's sons becomes involved in the Gandhi-led struggle to gain independence from Britain. The other son grows rich on a patent medicine to lighten dark skin, and eventually revitalizes his family's presence in Chevathar by building a mansion he calls the house of blue mangoes. Solomon's grandchildren go through WWII and the twilight of the Raj. This could be the stuff of potboilers, but Davidar writes with an ironic, sympathetic appreciation of the religious and historical forces binding the Indian people. His understanding of the psychological limitations and moral complexities of his characters in a country ruled by occupying powers distinguishes his narrative. The characters' lives change as the social injustice of the caste system slowly wanes, while the class distinctions between "pure" Indian and mixed-blood Anglo-Indians grow more tenacious. Although Davidar's prose often achieves lyrical beauty, his attempt to engage the reader in such cultural embroidery as how to brew a perfect cup of tea sometimes results in slow passages and didactic asides. Yet while it lacks the visceral bite of Mistry's A Fine Balance or Sharma's An Obedient Father, the novel offers a sweeping and generous view of India's fractured history. Agent, Nicole Aragi. 15-city NPR campaign; 5-city author tour. (Mar. 10) FYI: As publisher of Penguin Books India, Davidar has issued work by Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy and Rohinton Mistry. He wrote this book to "capture... memories that I have always cherished." Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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