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The Color of Our Sky: A Novel Paperback – April 18, 2017
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“This is an important story, sensitive and unflinching, of two childhood friends and their indelible bond.” (Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of The Golden Son and The Secret Daughter)
From the Back Cover
From a talented new voice comes a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night . . .
India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower-caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle-class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high-spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood.
But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend.
Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place.
Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately redemption.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story of two young girls, their families and what a difference it it is between the castes system, the rich and the very poor, especially what the traditions are in India.
Hopefully there will be change !
The story is told from the alternating first person point of view of two girls: Tara, a city girl who grew up in a respectable home and upper caste system; and Mukta, a poor village girl, daughter of a temple prostitute from the lower-caste system. When the compassion of an older woman and her son lead Mukta to escape her fate of prostitution by placing her as a servant girl in Tara's home, the two girls become fast friends, breaking the rule that the two caste systems cannot mix.
The story takes place from 1986 to 2008 and goes back in forth in time until the two converge. This was very well done, building up anticipation and suspense as we follow both girls' lives to an ending that is satisfying and uplifting. Tara is a feisty girl who was very close to her father, but tragedy strikes several times and she is left scarred and guilt-ridden. Mukta suffers tragedy too, but she accepts her station in life and remains hopeful even as she suffers the mistreatment and slavery of prostitution by the mafia. Honestly, my heart ached so much for her and all the young girls, some as young as eight, who are forced into this brutal life and killed if they try to escape.
As much as this book was hard to read at times, it was interspersed with joyful memories of the girls' friendship, their childhood, or the happy times spent with their mothers. We are intrigue by the mystery of Mukta's kidnapping as the circumstancing are revealed a little at a time. India comes to life under Trasi's pen, and her characters are so well-developed and real. The story raises awareness about sex trafficking and the people who dedicate their lives to helping victims of such crimes.
Ultimately, this is a story that shows how far the depth of love and friendship can run, juxtapositioned with how tradition, poverty and greed can render people to do inhumane things. The contrast between despair and hope throughout the story keeps the reader glued to the pages, renewing one's belief that hope can help one survive.
Fans of Shilpi Somaya Gowda will devour this book. Amita Trasi is a new author to look out for. The Color of Our Sky has made it to my list of Best Reads of 2017.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy. I willingly chose to read it and post an honest review.
Tara is a young girl in a happy household; her father is a progressive thinker who works with NGOs to help children of lower castes. Usually he brings them home for just a couple of days and then they go on to be placed. But one day he brings home a young girl named Mukta and she stays with the family. Mukta is the child of a small town prostitute, part of a generational system of women “dedicated to the goddess” but who are really just kept for the upper caste men. Mukta’s mother wants her to avoid her fate but her grandmother is a mercenary woman and sells her at 8 years old into the system.
Tara’s father is from the same village and on a trip home his mother encourages him to take her and find her a new home for no child deserves such a fate. He brings her home but his wife is not happy. Tara ultimately befriends her and they form a bond that holds firm until one night it breaks.
Mukta is kidnapped from the house one night and Tara is to scared to react. After trying to find her without luck Tara and her father move to the US. After Tara’s father dies she returns to India to try and find Mukta. Tara feels compelled to search for her childhood friend for many reasons and she won’t stop until she finds her.
The book is told in both girls’ voices and moves somewhat confusingly in time. Tara is, for the most part, a very unlikable character. She is at times an unpleasant child and to put it bluntly a pushy and stupid adult. Mukta has the far more compelling story and despite her very hard life she is easier to like. It is awful to read what her life was like but it’s important to bring awareness to these situations. For that alone this book should be read. It’s not a perfect book by any means but it is one that keeps a reader’s interest and has several big twists that caught me by surprise.
I received a free copy for my honest review
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