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Karma: First Edition Paperback – January 5, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
This epic novel, written in free verse poems in a diary format, straddles two countries and the clash of Indian cultures in the tale of 15-year-old Maya. Raised in Canada, Maya is the product of a marriage between her Hindu mother and Sikh father, a union that upset both families. Her 1984 trip to India with her father, after her mother's suicide, thrusts her life into further chaos when her father disappears during riots that follow Indira Gandhi's assassination. In her first YA novel, Ostlere (Lost: A Memoir) makes Maya's subsequent muteness believable in the wake of the many traumas she endures. Burdened with guilt over her parents' fate, as well as that of a Sikh man burned alive in front of her, she asks, "Is my silence unfounded too?/ No. I do not deserve to be found./ Or loved." A family in a desert town takes Maya in, and 17-year-old Sandeep (who contributes kinetic, lovestruck journal entries) takes special interest in her. In contrast to the hatred, mistrust, and violence, the friendship--and then love--between Maya and Sandeep offers hope, rebirth, and renewal. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* After her Hindu mother�s suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel from Canada to India for a traditional burial. The year is 1984, and on the night of their arrival in New Delhi, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her Sikh guards. When the city erupts in chaos, both Maya and her father find themselves in great danger. Through a sequence of horrifying events, father and daughter are separated, and Maya is left alone in a violent foreign country where she must rely on the help of strangers to reach safety. In her YA debut, acclaimed adult author Ostlere offers a riveting, historically accurate coming-of-age tale of gutsy survival, self-sacrifice, and love. Set during a six-week period, the novel in verse makes the most of its lyrical form with lines of dialogue that bounce back and forth in columns across the page and singularly beautiful metaphors and similes that convey potent detail and emotion. With artful compassion, Ostlere reveals the infinitely complex clash of cultures within both India and Maya�s family, and although the allusions to karma could have seemed awkward in less talented hands, here they lead into well-framed larger questions that will stay with readers. A fascinating, epic page-turner. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I do feel the main character acts/speaks a little older than her age at times, she was raised differently than I and then goes through this horrid experience, so I can look past such a thing.
I hope the lack of reviews does not mirror how this book as sold, because it deserves to be read and shared with others. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed.
What a heartbreaking novel. I always hate people killing people for no reason other than they are part of a group that the killers don't like. The people were killed in a barbaric way, and the country ignored that it was happening. Unfortunately I know this happens all the time. Maya was an interesting character, even if her thoughts were absent throughout the middle of this story. In the middle Sandeep fills in with his observations of the elusive girl. I found this to be an interesting way to tell the story. Sandeep seemed to have a lot more to say and wonder about than Maya did at that point in time. It seemed as though Maya was too filled with grief to think different thoughts. She probably just had the same horrifying images playing again and again through her mind; while this is understandable, it doesn't make for very exciting reading. Sandeep was a very kind person. He helped Maya and never left her, even when he knew the outcome would not be in his favor.
I really liked the verse and the diary style writing for this novel. It made it feel intimate and urgent. At times I felt the story focused on the light side of things too much, but I think it helped leave the reader not completely depressed. The last few chapters were even better than I had thought they would be, which is always nice. Love seems to be a big theme in this novel, despite all the war and chaos. This was a fantastic historical fiction that will make your heart ache but will leave you satisfied.
"How to begin."
"Bapu says her death is due architecture.[..]Because the gold was tarnished with blood. Because of hate. Prejudice. Intolerance."
Written in free verse poems first as Maya's diary and then as Sandeep's, this 500+ page books flies by. The story is engrossing in both Maya's words and Sandeep's. Cathy Ostlere writing is simply gorgeous and Maya's story is both heartbreaking and endearing. It is hard not cheer for the growing relationship between Sandeep and Maya and to not cry for their losses. Truthfully I would have been happy with a few more pages set sometime in the future tying loose ends together (trying not to spoil anything here) but will settle for my imagination or another book someday. Recommended for fans of historical fiction, romance, journals and free verse.