Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Review: The Village By The Sea: Anita Desai

The village by the sea is a childrens novel of the Indian writer Anita Desai. Set in a village on the western coast of India, north of the metropolis Mumbai, says the transformation of a rural village facing the prospect of industrialization. The author had direct experience of a village similar to that described during the holiday together with their children in a small fishing village not far from Bombay, where he lived at the time.

We are at the beginning of the seventies and the fishing village of Thul, north of Bombay on the west coast of India, still lives according to the rhythm of the seasons. Lila and Hari, sister and brother protagonists of the novel, all of a sudden you are faced with complex problems imposed from the rapid of a modernity which, together with backwardness, threatens to annihilate places, people and traditions.

Early seventies, Lila and Hari are two teenage brothers who live in an extremely poor family in the village of Thul. The father is addicted to alcohol, the mother is suffering from anemia to debilitation, the two sisters are still in school-age children. Family does not enter any income; For this reason, when Hari hear the news of a big industrial plant for the manufacture of fertilizers in the process of settling in the village, hoping to be hired and that his life can change.

The mother's condition worsened, unfortunately, to pay a healer Lila him a silver ring. Hari takes part in a demonstration opposed to an industrial fishing, then follows them without the knowledge of his sisters to Bombay to protest. Here the villagers are overwhelmed by the intensity of city life, their dispute intersects with that of the other categories. When the demonstration melts, Hari decides to ask for hospitality to Da Silva, a rich family who spends his holidays in the quiet of the village and sometimes gives tips for small errands.

Da Silva I'm not at home, the boy is expelled from home. Luckily for him the caretaker of the building takes pity on him and at an acquaintance, who gives him a place to sleep and eat. Hari is hired by Jagu, owner of a restaurant of the lowest order, as a dishwasher. He also makes friends with the watchmaker Mr. Panwallah, who owns the shop next door; he teaches him how to repair watches during their free time at the tavern.

Meanwhile in Thul mother is so bad that it must be accompanied to the hospital in the nearby capital of Alibag. When you know, the father moved practically in the hospital to be near her. Lila and sisters meanwhile help Da Silva on committees, and then during the monsoon season their friend Sayyid Ali who moved into their properties to study the habits of the birds.

The monsoons are terrible at Bombay, the city is practically flooded. Mr. Panwallah gets sick, but when he returns to work and business permits that Hari shelters from only the price of a watch. When at the end of the season the boy back home by bus to the festival of Diwali, has in his pocket a small fortune saved in Bombay. He goes to the hospital to resume his mother who has recovered from anemia after 7 months of treatment. His father, unrecognizable, to be near his wife has stopped drinking. Back in Thul, they decide to start a small breeding chickens and eggs; also when they reach the factory workers Hari will open a watchmaker's shop in the village.

An exemplary story narrated by Anita Desai traces the evolution of the two teenagers, their growing up in a difficult family situation, in a context isolated but supportive, poised between the habits of a dignified poverty and fetishes of a possible progress with a tale pedagogically delicate, with minute details, and attention to the time in which we live and constant adherence to non-violent choices.

Pages: 272 ♥ Published: 1982 ♥ ISBN13: 9780141312712 ♥ Language: English