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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
14


on December 3, 2013
This is a very pleasont reading. We could say that the main character en the story is a very poor family. The mother is in bed, very ill. The father is a drunkard, and the four children try to live and progress in this difficult scenario.

Anyway, the end of the story is optimistic and the descriptions of local rites and traditions are enjoyable. I found it a bit simple, but I liked it.
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on July 30, 2004
Anita Desai's wonderful novel tells the story of a family living in the small fishing village of Thul, 14 kilometres from Bombay, India. It is more precisely the story of two young people, Hari, a boy of 14, and Lila, a girl of 13, with a will to survive. Their task is not easy. Lila has to look after their mother who is very ill with fever and requires constant care. She is also in charge of all the household chores and has to look after their two younger sisters, Bela and Kamal. Hari on the other hand has to work in the fields, selling whatever he can at the market to feed the family. Indeed, their father has long ceased to be a fisherman, his sole occupation being to get drunk on toddy every night along with his chums in the village.

Fortunately, next to their hut is a large country house called Mon Repos which is owned by the de Silvas from Bombay and whenever they come on holiday to Thul, Lila and Hari can earn some extra money by helping with the household or doing work in the garden. But there is a rumour in the village saying that soon the rice fields and the coconut groves will be replaced by a large fertiliser factory. The location of Thul was chosen by the Government for its closeness to the port of Rewas. So new highways and railway lines are to be build and the villagers are worried about their future. Are they skilled enough to get a job at the factory? What will become of their traditional way of life? Will the air and the sea be polluted by chemicals? When a delegation is sent to Bombay to express their worries to the Minister Sahib, Hari decides to join the party. Before leaving, he decides that Bombay may offer him a better life opportunity than his frightened sisters, his sad house, his ill mother and his drunken father. And it is indeed in Bombay where this delicate boy, who
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on March 8, 2011
This book is about two village children for whom there is no choice but to live like adults - bracing responsibilities and duties at a very young age. If you are a sensitive reader, you would feel the various bitter and pungent tastes in the air of the book. One of them is the casual disregard of the community regarding the plight of these children...as if it is the way life is or as if it is natural of children to take up the up-bringing of their siblings if their parents are unable to or not willing to.

You will enjoy this book if you like to relish diversities in the ways people live... if you enjoy the fact that life changes its facade every few kilometers. I enjoyed the imagery: the smells, the lights, the tastes; the little things that make the lives of these children different from life as I know it and the little things that are the same.

I have advised many young readers to read this book as it is bound to add to your earth-experience. This is a personal phrase which to me means becoming more knowledgeable about life of humans... becoming more human-savvy.
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on February 14, 2003
It is only once in a while that one comes across a book which is so very genuine in presentation and content. The story of Hari and Lila, two village kids aged 12 and 13 respectively and their struggles with an ailing mother and drunkard father, while supporting a family is poignant and refreshing at the same time.
Why and how Hari in the face of abject poverty and destitution runs away to Bombay and how Lila manages to pull through the months when he's not there makes a very pleasing reading. In a country as India, where poverty abounds and personal despair can never be desparate enough, it shows how circumstances can make men out of boys and ditto for girls. There is no loss greater than the loss if human spirit and this is the message from this book. Coping with change is the most basic of human instincts yet we often struggle to maintain status quo.
Apart from this, the style is very pleasant and smooth. Having visited both Bombay and the villages near Alibagh, I can vouch for the fact that justice has been rendered to those environs. The ace in the stroy is the inclusion of Dr Sayyed Ali, India's noted orinthologist, to bring out a very important aspect. Overall the use is symbolism is profound and the conclusions heart warming. A definite read.
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on November 18, 1997
The changes that go through Hari and lila contribute to their maturity ( as most family probs do) Children that come from 'broken' homes gain no happiness or wealth but only maturity- hopefully the problem is less over the generation but this depends on whether the change leads to more positive or rather a less negatve view of life or a devastation of any hopes left leading to ultimate destruction Ends tooo nicely, not enough substance, book ends as if author was rushed and had to deal with father's alcaholism and mother' sickness before reaching 50 pages! Would have been very much more effective in conveying message about life in poverty and the state of India's poorest slums.
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on October 27, 2000
This book, amongst the many i have read, is outstanding in the way it creates the scenes and imagery in our minds. Allthough i am not familiar with the works of Anita Desai, i was impressed with the quality and degree of potential this book produces. Village By The Sea takes us through a journey of a small town in india adjusting to modernisation and the introduction of factories and industrilisation. They also deal with the major factor of poverty which is illustrated to us superbly. Allthough this is not the best book i have read, i strongly reccomend this to anyone who has spare time to read an informative yet enjoyable book!
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on October 28, 2000
This is a story of a poor Indian family who are being torn apart by illness and alcohol. The children of the family work and fight to keep there family together. On the way they have to deal with change and tragedy. This book had a typical ending which is very easy to predict, and had no real surprises. However the characters in the book where strong and determined, they keep the reader reading by the way they got through life on so little. The book shows that if you want something bad enough it is possible to get it.
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on October 19, 2000
A fantastic novel cleverly highlighting poverty striken India undergoing rapid urbanisation and industrialisition, focussing on the hardships of pre industrial times and the struggle for survival amidst poverty and cruelty. It gives voice to the poor, the rural and city people of India who are trying to keep the old customs and traditions alive and fighting over the goverment aquisitions of their homelands. It shows that if one door is closed there is always another to walk through.
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on October 28, 2000
This is a story of a poor Indian family who are being torn apart by illness and alcohol. The children of the family work and fight to keep there family together. On the way they have to deal with change and tragedy. This book had a typical ending which is very easy to predict, and had no real surprises. However the characters in the book where strong and determined, they keep the reader reading by the way they got through life on so little. The book shows that if you want something bad enough it is possible to get it.
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on May 18, 2003
This is a novel about everything in Indian culture. The author succesfully blended Indian's traditions, environment, politics and bunch more problems that sorrounded the poor Indian family. This is Anita Desai's best novel for me and touches my heart everytime. This is especially true when the bird lover said "Adapt! Adapt!". That part alone may surpass the power of moving and changing that featured in 'Who Moved My Cheese"
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