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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tibor Jones Prize Shortlist Novel Reviewed

Title: Tell A Thousand Lies
Author: Rasana Atreya
Author's website: http://rasanaatreya.com
Genre: Popular Fiction
Where it was published: Amazon (http://ow.ly/9DdxZ)
Available from Kindle

Shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize.
"We also particularly enjoyed the work of Rasana Atreya, [one of] our [two] runners up." ~ The Writing Room Bursary Competition 2011

Reviewed by Holly J Michael (Kansas City, MO USA)

 
Tell a Thousand Lies is an engaging novel that draws you into the heart and days of Pullamma's India where superstitions, the wrong color skin, and dirty politicians can determine a women's fate.

Raised by her grandmother, after her mother dies in childbirth and her father deserts the family, Pullamma lets go of the comfort of childhood innocence, fun and closeness of her best friend Chinni, to face woman-hood in a peculiar situation she lands in.

We travel with Pullamma and all of her hardships as she goes from a young girl in rural mid-1980s India hoping for a municipal water connection and a good husband--in spite of her dark skin and insufficient dowry--through her years of forced Goddesshood and difficulties and betrayals that take her into her adult years.

Tell a Thousand Lies is a moving comedic story about a woman's survival within societal and familial expectations. It allows us to become a part of the life of an endearing girl who makes the most out of difficult situations. It's a story about bonds of friendships, broken and restored, and love. I couldn't put the book down through Pullamma's travels and trials in India.

Pullamma's determination to overcome so many odds kept me breathlessly turning the pages to see how she would get out of the next pickle, and I don't mean her homemade pickle that became a source of income and a catalyst for female bonding and new friendships. I cheered when Pullamma triumphed under the most difficult situations and bit my nails when she had to face the evil politician's mischief.

Atreya's eloquent writing and detailed observations of life for women in India as well as the beauty and historical charm of India come through beautifully in this novel. I enjoy books filled with cultural richness that enlighten and entertain and Rasana Atreya pulls this off beautifully in her debut novel.

Having traveled throughout India several times and having relatives who live in India, I appreciated the spot-on struggles Indian women faced in the past and continue to face even today.

Tell A Thousand Lies is an emotional rollercoaster ride that makes you keep rooting for Pullamma as Atreya delightfully and hilariously infuses issues of class, religion, work, education, sexual roles, and the ties between women.

This is a very descriptive, well written story that draws you into the lives and emotions of the characters. A very good, humorous, poignant and heartwarming read.

 ~ Learn more about Rasana Atreya at  http://rasanaatreya.com and
http://rasanaatreya.wordpress.com . Her Tell A Thousand Lies is shortlisted for the TiborJones South Asia prize.

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1 comment:

Amy said...

I love slice-of-life novels, especially if you have some personal knowledge of the setting and recognize the truth in the novel. I'm enjoying A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth right now in the same way.