SHIVA'S FIRE by Suzanne Fisher Staples

SHIVA'S FIRE

Age Range: 12 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

A powerful new story from the author of Dangerous Skies (1996).

On the day Parvati is born, a terrible cyclone ravages her village and her father is trampled to death by the elephants he

trained and loved. Her mother’s milk runs sweet, though, and the infant understands all that is around her. From her birth, she

sees the sandalwood her father, Shiva, carved dance in the night, and she hears music in the flames of the fire. Parvati and her

mother are feared and shunned, so when a teacher of classical Indian dance comes to invite the now 12-year-old to study with

him, Parvati sees not only a chance at her heart’s desire but a way to free her family from poverty. The ascetic and aesthetic

structure of the school, where the girls are almost as cloistered and disciplined as nuns, fills Parvati, but her extraordinary gifts

still inspire dread in her classmates and isolate her further. Staples weaves a tapestry of Gandhi's India as rich and fragrant as

night jasmine. The ritual of the dance, the harshness of mud huts and poverty against the sumptuous environs of the maharaja’s

palace, and the longing of Parvati not only for the dance but for the maharaja’s son, make this a heady and exotic tale. (Fiction.12-14)

Pub Date: April 12th, 2000
ISBN: 0-374-36824-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2000




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