The Hero's Walk

The Hero's Walk

Book - 2001
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"In the dusty seaside town of Toturouram on the bay of Bengal, the modern world is fast encroaching upon Sripathi Rao. His mother is disappointed that he never becamea doctor; his sister, longing for love, is the ban of local matchmakers; his only son prefers embarrassing student activism over employment; and his wife, though ever-dutiful, has become disillusioned and bitter. But the small disasters of everyday life wither when his beloved daughter - long-estranged because of her marriage to a white Canadian - and her husband are killed in a car crash. Nandana, their surviving seven-year-old daughter, is about to become Sripathi's reluctant ward and the wayward catalyst that forces him to come to terms with the pain of his loss.
Publisher: Toronto, ON :, Vintage Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited,, 2001, c2000
Edition: Vintage Canada edition
ISBN: 9780676973600
Characteristics: 359 pages ; 21cm


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Anita Rau Badami does an excellent job depicting the modern day life in India (I literally felt like a tourist submerged into the environment except there was also a good story and I didn’t have to physically travel anywhere). It focuses on one family, but a lot is tied into that one family’s journey: neighbours, traditions, and daily routines. Another interesting twist is the switching back and forth between Canada and India – this contrast is often very vivid (actually, just like everything in Badami’s book). You will feel the heat and smell the dust, or hear the rain gushing during the monsoon period. Fans of descriptive language will be thrilled with this novel. The drawback, to some people, it may seem longer than necessary at some parts of the book – but, tastes are just a matter of opinion.

One of the main characters in the novel is a 7 year-old girl, Nandana, who loses her parents in a car accident and has to go to India to live with her estranged grandparents. Nandana’s grandparents are internally suffocating from emotions of: grief, regret, uncertainty, failure, and frustration as they try their best to build a new life for their grandchild and fix up their own ones along the way. (Submitted by Mariya)

Aug 24, 2018

This was a fantastic book. A very well written story that captures you throughout the story.

Well written and emotionally evocative. I think the underlying message is that India has to change. Children are not the projection of their parent's ego and social status. I am not sure who the hero was doing the walking, maybe it was the "hero" pen. The image of the turtles on the sea shore in the last chapter was brilliant.

May 28, 2018

There is a lot of food for thought....should we walk the Hero's Walk---a life of dignity and
courage or should we live our lives to gain what we can from it and break all the rules of
humbleness, dignity and courage....beautifully written

Oct 18, 2016

I can't say enough good things about this book! The writing was flawless and the story, interlaced with an intricate array of memorable characters, was amazing.

From crochety grandma Ammala to the trio of girlhood bullies who torment Nandana, the characters solidify the neighborhood that surrounds the Rao family as they navigate the changing world around them, from Brahmin supremacy to inclusivity.

Aug 30, 2016

I was bewildered that Sripathi's elderly mother, Ammayya, didn't learn from her son's estrangement from his daughter, Maya, when she opposed her Brahmin daughter, Putti, marrying the rags-to-riches milkman's son. The scenes in this book are emotional, vivid, and lively. In the end, the family moves on with its lives ... it is not "happily ever after." The novel would have benefited from a glossary of Indian words such as khachda, mutthal, and agda-bagda.

Jul 13, 2016

Another Canada Reads novel completed. One sure way to get a good read. I liked this story a lot. It saddens me that so many cultures restrict personal feelings and desires for one's own future. So much sadness in this eastern/western theme.... leaves one feeling rather 'heavy'.

Jul 10, 2016

Loved this book! The book is well organized and beautifully written with a great sense of kind and good humour. One of the main characters - a mother-in-law - may remind someone you may know!

May 21, 2016

Badami deals very well with the Inter and Intra generational conflicts of a South Indian Brahmin family beset by a tragedy. Will the tragedy bring them together or pull them apart? Badami is a great storyteller and handles the delicate subject with finesse.

May 10, 2016

I really enjoyed this book. The struggle of culture and maintaining traditions threaten this Indian family. Letting go and following their hearts finally allowed them happiness.
A young girl orphaned in Canada is brought to live with grandparents in India. How the older generation adapts to changing times.

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