STEPS IN DARKNESS by Krishna Baldev Vaid


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This deals with a poor and troubled family in India: the style in staccato and stripped, sometimes, for pages, there is nothing but furious dialogue, like a script for a play... or a long howl of wrath. The mother does most of the howling. There is never enough to in the house; the father is always gambling. Furious and unkempt, she rages through the house, hanging pots and pans, making the fire smoke, screaming at the old bedridden grandmother, at her son , her daughter, Devi, her husband, in a senseless, repetitive litany. The children try to escape to tidier households; Beero makes friends with a Moslem boy and is enchanted by the serenity and warmth of his family. Devi has a nearby girl friend who almost talks her into an unpleasant marriage as a means of escape. The grandmother dies in another city: the father vanishes but returns. All this hubbub takes place within the family, there is little outside scenery. Except for a few Indian props this could be the story of people in any country driven to insane desperation by extreme poverty. Moving, but limited in a viewpoint and appeal.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1962
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin