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KEEPING CORNER by Kashmira Sheth Kirkus Star

KEEPING CORNER

By Kashmira Sheth

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7868-3859-2
Publisher: Hyperion

In Gujarat, India, during World War I, Mohandas Gandhi has opened an ashram attracting followers to his movement for Indian self-determination. In a nearby village, Leela, 12, married at age nine, looks forward to moving to her husband’s home. When he dies unexpectedly, Brahman custom requires her confinement at home for a year, “keeping corner.” Prohibited from ever remarrying, her head shaved and pretty saris put away, Leela faces a barren future. Her loving family is heartbroken, but only Leela’s brother has the courage to buck tradition, hiring a tutor to educate her. This powerful and enchanting novel juxtaposes Leela’s journey to self-determination with the parallel struggle of her family and community to follow Gandhi on the road to independence from British rule. Among the vivid and appealing characters is India itself. Natural and human cycles—dry and monsoon seasons, landscape and animals, customs religious and secular—are rendered with a rich sensual palate. We leave Leela and her country poised to cross the threshold of autonomy at that enchanting moment when anything seems possible. (Fiction. 12+)