Dancing to the flute A novel

Manisha Amin

Book - 2013

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FICTION/Amin Manisha
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Subjects
Genres
Bildungsromans
Published
New York : Atria Paperback 2013.
Edition
First Atria paperback edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Originally published in 2012 in Australia by Allen & Unwin"--Title page verso.
Includes glossary.
Physical Description
vii, 305 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781451672046
1451672047
Main Author
Manisha Amin (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Structured around the melodic progression of a raag, a form of Indian classical music, this novel is one of shifting mood and tone more than anything else.Like the raag, it begins slowly, establishing characters and plot points before moving with increasing swiftness through the years and, eventually, a hasty series of tragedies and triumphs heavy with personal, societal, and religious import. Kalu is left as a boy at a temple near Hastinapore, India, with no memory of his past. His happy wit and thoughtful manner earn him friends, though, and his talent eventually takes him away from Hastinapore to learn music from a reclusive master. It's a testament to its gentle charm and tantalizing evocation of culture that it takes so long for Amin's wandering portrayal of these events to become wearying, which it eventually does. By the time it progresses, though, the abrupt switch to action seems not a relief but a kind of betrayal of awkward retreat, ringing false in a novel whose joys are to be found in a slow, sensory build-up. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Born in Kenya to Indian parents and raised in Australia, Amin tells the story of an abandoned child named Kalu whose life changes forever when he rolls up the leaf of a banyan tree and blows. Strong reviews from Australia. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kalu, a young orphan in the fictional Indian village of Hastinapore, finds kindness among strangers who recognize his preternatural musical talent in Amin's debut novel. Eschewing the services of a drunken village doctor, Kalu is brought to a local healer for treatment of his potentially crippling foot condition. Instead of demanding a payment, the healer encourages Kalu to leave the village and study the flute under the healer's brother, who is an accomplished musician. Kalu agrees to leave, heading into the mountains to meet the guruji who will test his mettle and teach him proper technique. While Kalu possesses the potential to be great, his ability to harness the full breadth of his talent hinges on his reaction to tragedy. Amin weaves a lovely and subtle tale of music's power and magic, using elements of traditional raag forms as the basis for the novel's structure. Though primarily an uplifting tale, one in which Kalu makes for a charismatic protagonist despite himself, Amin provides an oft-unseen glimpse of the realities of life in contemporary rural India. Agent: Selwa Anthony, Selwa Anthony Pty Ltd. (Australia) (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Carving out a life for himself in a quiet village in India after being abandoned as a child, cheeky street youth Kalu makes a simple flute out of a banyan tree leaf and attracts the attention of a reclusive traveling healer who sets him on a path that tests his confidence and sense of identity. Original. A first novel.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Carving out a life for himself in a quiet village in India, street youth Kalu makes a simple flute out of a banyan tree leaf and attracts the attention of a reclusive traveling healer who sets him on a path that tests his confidence and sense of identity.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Masterfully evoking the breathtaking beauty of India, Manisha Jolie Amin's lyrical debut novel follows a young boy whose life takes an unexpected turn when he is sent to live with a reclusive but renowned musician."Kalu picked up the flute by his side and started to play. The sound was deep and full, as if he were translating his thoughts into music. It stayed in the air like dust floating on the sunlight, and each note held the promise of something not quite spoken but maybe heard in the darkness of a dream.'  Abandoned as a young child, Kalu, a cheeky street kid, has carved out a life for himself in rural India. In the quiet village of Hastinapore, Kalu has also found friends: Bal, the solitary boy who tends the local buffaloes, and Malti, a gentle servant girl, who with her mistress, Ganga Ba, has watched over Kalu since he first wandered into the small town. One day, perched high in the branches of a banyan tree, Kalu chooses a leaf, rolls it tightly, and as he's done for as long as he can remember, blows through it. His pure, simple notes dance through the air and attract a traveling healer, whose interest will change Kalu's life forever, setting him on a path he would never have dreamt possible and testing his belief in himself and his sense of identity. Rich in texture and atmosphere, Dancing to the Flute is a heartwarming story of a community's joys and sorrows, the transformative powers of music, the many faces of friendship, and a boy's journey, against all odds, to become a man.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Masterfully evoking the breathtaking beauty of India, Manisha Jolie Amin's lyrical debut novel follows a young boy whose life takes an unexpected turn when he is sent to live with a reclusive but renowned musician."Kalu picked up the flute by his side and started to play. The sound was deep and full, as if he were translating his thoughts into music. It stayed in the air like dust floating on the sunlight, and each note held the promise of something not quite spoken but maybe heard in the darkness of a dream.'  Abandoned as a young child, Kalu, a cheeky street kid, has carved out a life for himself in rural India. In the quiet village of Hastinapore, Kalu has also found friends: Bal, the solitary boy who tends the local buffaloes, and Malti, a gentle servant girl, who with her mistress, Ganga Ba, has watched over Kalu since he first wandered into the small town. One day, perched high in the branches of a banyan tree, Kalu chooses a leaf, rolls it tightly, and as he's done for as long as he can remember, blows through it. His pure, simple notes dance through the air and attract a traveling healer, whose interest will change Kalu's life forever, setting him on a path he would never have dreamt possible and testing his belief in himself and his sense of identity. Rich in texture and atmosphere, Dancing to the Flute is a heartwarming story of a community's joys and sorrows, the transformative powers of music, the many faces of friendship, and a boy's journey, against all odds, to become a man.