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Tell A Thousand Lies [Kindle Edition]

Rasana Atreya
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

In a land where skin colour can determine one's destiny, fraternal twins PULLAMMA and LATA are about to embark on a journey that will tear their lives apart.

Dark skinned Pullamma dreams of being a wife. With three girls in her family, the sixteen year old is aware there isn't enough dowry to secure suitable husbands for them all. But a girl can hope. She's well versed in cooking, pickle making, cow washing -- you name it. She's
also obliged her old-fashioned grandmother by not doing well in school.

Fair skinned and pretty, her twin sister Lata would rather study medicine than get married. Unable to grasp the depth of Lata's desire, the twins' Grandmother formalizes a wedding alliance for the girl. Distraught, Lata rebels, with devastating consequences.

As Pullamma helps ready the house for her older sister Malli's bride viewing, she prays for a positive outcome to the event. What happens next is so inconceivable that it will shape Pullamma's future in ways she couldn't have foreseen.

A mainstream, multi-ethnic, world literature book from India, TELL A THOUSAND LIES is a sometimes wry, sometimes sad, but ultimately realistic look at how superstition and the colour of a girl's skin rules India's hinterlands.

If you like Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) or Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy), you might like this book.

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Editorial Reviews


Shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize.

Nominated for the 2012 Global eBook Awards.

From the Author

Tell A Thousand Lies came about because Indian television is overrun with advertisements from manufacturers of fairness creams (aka skin lightening creams) that promise everything from good grades to nirvana, if only you use their particular brand of product. This bothered me enough that I wrote out a tagline -

Fairness Cream: Finding Solutions to Life's Vexing Problems, One Application at a Time

Then I proceeded to write a novel around it.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1085 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IX6W8Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,339 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell a Thousand Lies by Rasana Atreya March 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tell a Thousand Lies
By Rasana Atreya

What can you do if you are a poor girl living in rural India to change your future?

If you are light skinned, pretty and not too well educated your future as a wife will be assured. Your family will be able to find a husband for you even if you don't have much of a dowry. You know what is expected of you. Treat your husband like a prince, please your mother-in-law, dote on your sons and lament the birth of your daughters. The pattern is in place and you have been trained all your life to follow it like generations of girls before you.

But what if you are not light skinned, pretty, have a good dowry or come from a prominent family? Who will marry you when you have nothing of value to add to another family? Where does your future lie. Will you be the one who stays at home to take care of your family in their old age? Will you watch your friends marry and leave their homes behind while you stay static?

Can a light-skinned, pretty, overly educated girl find another path? One that leads to the city and an education in medicine. Or is the future etched so deeply in stone that the ability to change it is too overwhelming?

Three teenaged sisters, twins Lata and Pallamma, and their older sister Malli find the paths chosen for them by tradition and family circumstance changed in an instant. Not by fate and not by accident but by the scheming machinations of a politician who sees a chance to use the sisters to his own ends. His interference leads each sister down a path she has not chosen, changing not only their futures but the lives of their family, friends, villagers and the men each of them will marry.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Heartwarming Read! March 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition
For people who like tales of India and Indians as mystical otherworldly creatures, this is not a book for you. I am grateful that Atreya doesn't resort to tricks of exoticism in her very modern story of life in an undereducated southeast Asian community. The book is fast paced and surprising, and I read it quickly, in just a few days, surprising myself by my urge to know what happened next. The author takes the hat trick of having an undereducated narrator win your sympathy and makes her unreliable as well. That makes the story even more interesting. I definitely recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Wonderful Read April 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
What an unexpected treat this novel turned out to be. From the first page, I was transported to India in the 1980s, a world where skin colour is everything and girls are brought up to be suitable wives. The dry, witty narrative gave me an instant connection with the heroine Pullamma, feisty and a little wild, but ultimately longing to be loved for herself. She will break your heart, have you laughing out loud, and take you on an emotional journey you will never forget. With her vivid characters, evocative description and rich cultural detail, the author pulled me into the story from the outset and refused to let me go until the end. Yet, this novel did far more than entertain me. It opened my eyes to a culture I confess to knowing little about, and to the struggles women in India are forced to confront even today.

A truly wonderful read!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced tale of fate and destiny March 13, 2012
By Vrinda
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tell a Thousand Lies is a fast-paced story about a girl whose life is propelled by circumstances beyond her control from that of an innocent, naive teenager to that of a living goddess. Along the way, she sheds some of her naivete, but manages to retain her matter-of-fact manner of dealing with her circumstances, as well as her sense of humour.

The characters in the book are realistic. The protagonist Pullamma is not all-powerful; she does not win against all odds. Indeed, she often loses the battles that she is forced into. She tries to do the right thing, but sometimes she cannot, and it is not below her to indulge in some rightful resentment even as she does what has to done.

The character of Pullamma's twin Lata is also refreshingly grey. Knowing her background and circumstances, we cannot help but feel that her anger and resentment are justified, even thought the means she uses to give vent to them are not.

Rasana Atreya brings the locales in her book to life with well-crafted descriptions. In charting Pullamma's journey, she touches on several social evils from dowry, superstition and the discouragement of girls' higher education to the association of beauty with skin colour and the consequent penchant for "fairness" creams.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book....
This was really a good book....enjoyed reading the book..would like to try more books from the same authr -Rasana Atreya
Published 11 days ago by knife1nhead
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell A Thousand Lies
Tragic story of a girl brought up in a rural village of Andhra Pradesh.
It was shocking to find out about superstitious and rigid traditions of this Indian suburb. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Arpita
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I really liked this book. It kept me entertained and up at night! I felt sad when it was over because it felt like I was saying goodbye to part of my family.
Published 29 days ago by Mimi
4.0 out of 5 stars Power hungry politician will do anything to climb to the top!!!!
I found it very easy to read and understand. Very sad to think that during this day and age women are still being treated like second hand citizens. Read more
Published 1 month ago by soraya
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
A great read I was totally hooked couldn't put it down, I strongly recommend it to everyone. Love learning about the villagers attitudes and beliefs, although fictitious I am sure... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Astrid
2.0 out of 5 stars Soap opera read
I didn't care for this book, and couldn't actually finish it. It is, as others commented, an Indian soap opera tale. Unrealistic and slightly predictable, and lacking depth. Read more
Published 1 month ago by H.C from NY
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story!
Three girls, Malli and her twin sisters Lata and Pullamma are orphaned and brought up by their grandmother, Ammamma, with meager means until they reach the marriageable age when... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Julia Dutta
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and deeply interesting
Initially, I thought this book might be interesting for my students but not particularly intense. After the first couple of chapters, I had to seriously reform my opinion. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Laurie Tanner
1.0 out of 5 stars television soap
Reminds one of typical indian television serial, neither a great story nor a good piece of literature. Read more
Published 3 months ago by bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Although Pullamma is a very tortured character, this book was very difficult to put down. An entertaining read from a new author.
Published 3 months ago by Sapna S McManus
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More About the Author

Rasana Atreya is a blogger, foodie and novelist living in Hyderabad, India. She is also the mother of two grade schoolers who are desperate for the chance to design the cover of her second book. She's still thinking about that one. Her first novel, Tell A Thousand Lies, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award, is an Amazon category bestseller.

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