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Tell A Thousand Lies: A Novel Set In India by [Atreya, Rasana]
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Tell A Thousand Lies: A Novel Set In India Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 242 customer reviews

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Length: 340 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize.

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: 991 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: March 8, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IX6W8Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,849 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Tell a Thousand Lies
By Rasana Atreya
3/19/2012

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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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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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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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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