THE ROLLER BIRDS OF RAMPUR by Indi Rana

THE ROLLER BIRDS OF RAMPUR

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A rambling, didactic novel about a culturally confused Indian teenager, raised in London, who goes back to her grandparents' farm in Madyha Pradesh to sort out her identity and her future. As Sheila rediscovers her roots, readers get a guided tour of Indian history, politics, economics, and religion, mostly in the form of extended conversations between Sheila and her relatives and new acquaintances. After she witnesses a vendetta during a village religious festival, its repercussions in the villagers' lives lead her to decide to study social work in India. The ``issues'' here are fascinating, but they overwhelm the plot and characters (mostly familiar types--intellectual, enlightened agrarian, upper-middle- class dowager matchmaker, etc.--though this does allow for some potent satire). The author's hand is heavy--foreshadowing and echoing are over-insistent, while Rana explains all of her symbols. Most interesting are vignettes of village life and traditional culture. Overall, a journalistic format might have suited the material better. Glossary. (Fiction. 14+)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8050-2670-3
Page count: 298pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993