THE WHITE BUNGALOW by Aimee Sommerfelt


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In The Road to Agra we followed Lalu and his younger sister Maya down the long road from Katawa to Agra in their search for medical help. Here, we are back in Katawa, Maya's eyesight saved and Lalu's eyes opened by the dream of becoming a doctor. But Lalu's father is ill and someone must work the land or the family will have to join India's endless number of beggars. Lalu's friend Ram has been living alone for a year in Katawa, stealing, begging and entertaining for his food. Ram's conflicting desires -- more than anything he wants a permanent home (yet the barracks life of his father, an Indian Army sergeant, he rejects as intellectually stifling) are in direct contrast to Lalu's case. The portrait of Ram's father is beautifully drawn as is Lalu's struggle with the burnt out land. Because the monsoon does not arrive on schedule, the land becomes dry and hard, while vultures rouch in the trees awaiting the inevitable outcome of famine. The crisis for both boys comes with the sudden violence of a monsoon -- Lalu stays to work the farm while Ram goes off to school. The problems of the two boys are those of India -- a society in transition -- and this book handles them with realism.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1964
Publisher: Criterion