GANESH by Malcolm J. Bosse


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An unusual, sometimes compelling story of an American boy raised in India. Before Jeffrey was born his parents came to India on business and stayed to help the poor and adopt their ways. His mother died when he was nine and now, at 14, he sees his Hindu father die and is shocked to realize that without parents he no longer belongs to the village he has called home. And so, after his father's funeral (Brahmin, ""with a few omissions, of course"") and a hypnotically described ceremonial burning, Jeffrey, alone, takes the ashes to a sacred river and then travels to America to live with a kind widowed aunt in the large house his great-grandfather built. The house fills a deep need for Jeffrey, and he at once feels at home there, though the kids at school seem strange to him and he to them. Nevertheless he's befriended by Tom, the school basketball star, and when the state determines to raze the house for a highway, Tom and seven others join Jeffrey in an eleven-day fast and sit-in based on the Indian Satyagraha resistance principle. Such participation, from such a bland and narrow bunch of kids and for such a private cause, may seem implausible, but Bosse makes this East-West union a victory for Jeffrey and a vision of what could happen. Throughout, Bosse's portrayal of the American kids has less conviction than his picture of Jeffrey's Indian life and the East-West differences in outlook as Jeffrey experiences them. It's his steady, intimate evocation of the latter that gives the story resonance.

Pub Date: April 8th, 1981
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell