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The Folded Earth: A Novel Paperback – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Winner of The Economist Crossword Fiction Award 2011

"How does a writer compete against the media's invasion of public discourse in all its chattering, hectoring, commercially packaged format. One way could be by creating a small, inviolable space in which to observe and record all the subterranean upheavals to create those moments of clarity that we value as literature. The small diamond that we have unearthed and enjoyed is called The Folded Earth." (The Economist Crossword Fiction Award Committee)

International Praise for The Folded Earth:

“[Roy’s] narrative is poised and her language precise and poetic, without being flamboyant . . . a story about love and hate, continuity and change, loss and grief in a convincing and memorable setting.”
The Independent

“Anuradha’s ability to seamlessly place the private lives of her characters within a larger socio-political setting is what she carries into her second book [as well] . . . at the end of The Folded Earth you feel a firm belief in the redemptive qualities of life and love.” (Elle)

“A gently perceptive story, half comic and half poignant, of a woman’s struggle to forget her sorrows in new surroundings.”
The Sunday Times

“Tight with life. . . .Roy’s attention to individual words pays off as she conveys the full texture of experiences. . . . Even minor characters are evoked with inventive idiosyncrasy.” (Daily Mail)

"The Folded Earth is pure pleasure, that old fashioned sort of novel in which one can immerse oneself; an absolute treat."
Business World

“Eminently readable, a literary novel that feels timeless and authentic.” (DNA)

“Roy has an admirably restrained style and her novel offers a vivid evocation of North India. She conjures up striking images with the lightest of touches.”
The Tatler

"A jewel of a story." (The Deccan Herald)

“[A] deeply unsettling but beautiful novel . . . utterly enrapturing. . . . As always, Roy’s writing remains gently poignant and metaphoric throughout, every vignette and scenario she constructs feels multilayered and deeply meaningful.”
For Books' Sake

“A perfect treat . . . Roy brings her characters vividly and amusingly to life.” (Country and Town House Magazine)

“There is a gentle perfection to the way Roy writes. . . . A beautiful love story. . . . about people who love and long—impossibly?—and love again.”
The Hindu

“Anuradha Roy’s second novel demands that the reader pause, slow down, savour this work. . . . I hear echoes of Anita Brookner and Edna O’Brien and other writers like them as Roy brings Maya and her travails to life.” (Biblio)

“A book you will hold close to your heart long after the last page is turned.” —First City Magazine

Praise for An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy:

“Every once in a great while, a novel comes along to remind you why you rummage through shelves in the first place. . . . [A]s you slip into the book’s pages, you sense you are entering a singular creation. . . . And then, suddenly, you are swept away. . . . This, you think, is the feeling you had as you read Great Expectations or Sophie's Choice or The Kite Runner. This is why you read fiction at all.” (The Washington Post)

“Roy’s prose does not hit a single wrong note: its restrained beauty sings off the page.” —Neel Mukherjee, Time Magazine

“Refreshing. . . . [Roy] defines her characters quickly and skillfully, she has a keen eye for landscape, and she knows how private lives can suggest the larger shape of the public world.” —The New York Times

“Set in mid-twentieth-century India, this debut novel spans generations and political upheavals, [chronicling] both the strength of domestic bonds and the wounds that parents and children, and husbands and wives, inflict on each other.” —The New Yorker

“Epic. . . . [a] gorgeous, sweeping novel.” —Ms Magazine

“Impressive. . . . With her rich imagination, vivid descriptions, and skillful handling of events. . . . Roy weaves a tapestry of family life in India. . . . the story and characters stay with the reader for a long time. Roy is a writer to watch.” —The SeattleTimes

“Roy’s prose soars with a lyricism that can take your breath away. . . . From her whirlwind opening sentences, readers know they’re in for a ride.” —Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“A novel to convince us that boldly drawn sagas with larger-than-life characters are still possible in a relentlessly postmodern world. . . . A sprawling epic of love, class and ambition.” —Denver Post

“An incandescently evocative debut novel filled with wrenching tragedy as well as abiding passion.” —Booklist

“[Roy] is a fabulous storyteller with a true gift for transporting the reader right into the heat, smells, and sights of India. . . . a poetic novel easily read again and again. A complete success and an excellent choice for a discussion group.” —Library Journal

“Roy’s impressive American debut. . . the sounds, smells, and feel of Bengal come vividly to life. Cultures may differ, but longing and love are universal.” —Publishers Weekly

"In An Atlas of Impossible Longing, Anuradha Roy bravely explores love, the caste system, and familial lines in a vivid portrait of war-stricken twentieth-century India. This absorbing story defies prediction. Roy’s grace and mesmerizing language stayed with me long after I closed the book.” —Katie Crouch, author of Girls in Trucks

“A novel of beauty, poignancy, and gut-churning suspense. . . . A lyrical love letter to India’s past—an India of innocent child brides and jasmine-scented summer evenings. . . . Poetic and evocative, Roy’s writing is a joy.” —Financial Times

“Deftly and sensitively narrated.”—The Independent

"A story to lose yourself in.. . . Anuradha Roy is a wonderful writer. . . . this tale of three generations of an Indian family, set over the span of the 20th century, is brilliantly told [and] intensely moving." —Sunday Express

“Roy’s novel is engaging from start to finish and difficult to put down.”—The Sunday Sun

"Recalls classics from Great Expectations to The Cherry Orchard. . . . Roy's prose is luscious yet economical. Capturing the rhythms of life in rural backwater and big city alike, she strings together jewel-like episodes. . . . giving her story the quality of something remembered." —The National Newspaper

“Now here is a perfect monsoon read: an exquisitely-written first novel that flows limpid and elegiac. . . . you might find yourself unbearably moved by her delicate probing of the fragility of love and longing.”—India Today

About the Author

Anuradha Roy is the author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, which has been published in sixteen countries and named by World Literature Today as one of the sixty most essential books on modern India. She lives in India.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451633335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451633337
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anuradha Roy won the Economist Crossword Prize for Fiction for her novel, The Folded Earth, which was nominated for several other prizes including the Man Asia.

Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, has been translated into 15 languages across the world. It was named by World Literature Today as one of the 60 most essential books on modern India and was shortlisted for the Crossword Prize. She won the Picador-Outlook Non-Fiction Prize in 2004.

Anuradha Roy's journalism and book reviews have been published in Outlook, India Today, Outlook Traveller, National Geographic Traveller, Biblio, Telegraph, Indian Express, and the Hindu. She works as a designer at Permanent Black, an independent press which she runs with her husband, Rukun Advani. She lives in India.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By The Write Edge on April 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
After losing her husband in a dramatic accident, a young widow decides she must move close to the mountains he loved and trekked. She thinks she has found the ideal hideout, a small village in the folds of the Himalayas, and her life regains some sense of balance. But when her landlord's nephew comes back to town after a long absence, the young widow suddenly realizes that with him has come the upheaval she so desperately wanted to escape.

Anuradha Roy's second novel, The Folded Earth, compels readers to stay up late at night and try to finish "just one more chapter." Roy's exquisite prose will draw readers in one word at a time, one sentence at a time, and her eloquence offers rich characterizations and deep landscape descriptions. Her story will not disappoint either and goes toe to toe with Roy's usage of language, giving readers what they so deserve: a fantastic book to enjoy many times over.

The protagonist, Maya, marries the love of her life, crossing all of the boundaries set by society, religion, and caste. Her father instantly disowns her, but Maya and her husband, Michael, begin their life together in Hyderabad (in the south of India) in bliss. As a trekker, Michael often goes on long expeditions to the statuesque mountains sitting on India's northern border, and when he doesn't come home from his final, fatal, expedition Maya knows she must go there herself to be as close to Michael's spirit as possible.

She relocates to the small village of Ranikhet, and slowly she makes a place for herself with the long-time residents. Her landlord, Diwan Sahib, remembers India before the Partition and Independence; Ama, her next-door tenant, alternates between raising her granddaughter, Charu, and raising eyebrows with the local gossip.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By SusieBookworm (Susanna P) on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
The first 100 or so pages of this started out as strong as "An Atlas of Impossible Longing," which I absolutely loved reading last year. I remember now why I love Anuradha Roy's writing so much - it comes off as enchanting and magical, and she says everything so eloquently and with occasional large words. I love how she interworks details from Indian history, archaeology, and culture with the main point of the story. But, unfortunately, I did not think that this book was anywhere near as fantastic as Roy's previous novel. The plot was very slow-paced, and if not for Roy's great writing, I would probably have been bored enough to struggle finishing the book. The storyline meandered, never truly reaching what was expected from reading the book's blurbs. I didn't feel like the story and characters were as well-developed as they could have been, and the overall plot seemed to be missing some cohesive element. I think, on the last page, I finally grasped SOME of the points Roy was trying to make with the novel. "The Folded Earth" is worth a read - Roy's writing is still wonderful and there are some interesting points to the book - but if you're choosing between it and "An Atlas of Impossible Longing," go with the latter!

Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ripple on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Set in a remote hill top town in the Himalayas where the earth has folded to create the majestic scenery, a young woman, Maya, recently widowed arrives to be closer to the scene of her husband's climbing accident. There, she encounters a rich variety of characters who seem to leap of the page, foremost of which two at opposite ends both of society and life's journey - Charu, a young peasant girl whose emerging relationship with a young cook is touching and sweet, and Maya's eccentric landlord, a relict of the Raj who may or may not be in possession of some intriguing personal letters that pertain to India's history and the departing British.

There are three great strengths to this book. Firstly the contrast between the timeless majesty and beauty of the landscape and the all too brief lives of the often rather less noble human residents who live there. This leads to the second reason that this is such a good read: Roy creates some wonderful, often quite eccentric characters. You can always tell when this is done to perfection when even the smallest bit part characters seem to come to life with a few brief idiosyncracies. The final thing that stands out about this book is that, while at times it's not altogether clear where the plot, such as it is, is heading, the final few pages make sense of the whole thing and may surprise you and will probably make you smile.

The overall tone of the book is gentle and charming, although that's not to say that it glosses over some important issues surrounding modern day India, but rather it gently sends these up with a delicate humour.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Book Him Danno on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book started out with a good flow but about the half-way point it slowed down. I had to push through the pages to pick the story up again and with that the flow increased. The lives of the people living in this remote area of India were interesting and diverse. The sadness and loss I felt in the beginning returned at the end. Such heartbreak and despair for one person seems unbearable.

The relationships Maya experienced in her life were varied and yet each left its mark on her personality and life. Friends, lovers, family, all of them made life difficult yet worth living. I could feel Maya's pain and loss. She is a character I may keep around awhile. The ending hit me hard and I have to say that I do not entirely disagree with Maya's decision. She had been wronged in so many ways by someone she thought loved her, one more wrong may just make a right. I wish the book had given me a better idea of where Maya went and how her life turned out.

I enjoyed this book more than I did this authors first work, Atlas of Impossible Longing. If you enjoy stories of life, loss, love and finding peace, I think you will like this book. If you enjoyed her first book then this is a must-read for you.
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