Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 22 April 2013

Dancing to the Flute - Manisha Jolie Amin - guest review

Kalu is a street urchin, who was abandoned by his family as a small child. He endures unimaginable hardship, but by using his wits to survive and by running errands for local shop keepers, he finds just enough food to keep himself from starving. Music becomes Kalu’s salvation, and when a travelling healer discovers Kalu playing a beautiful melody through a rolled up banyan leaf, Kalu’s life takes on a very different meaning, and leads him, with his friends Malti and Bal, on a remarkable journey of self discovery.

Initially slow to start, the story attempts to mimic the theme of the ‘raag’, the mood of the music Kalu is so adept at playing, but alongside the hypnotic quality of the music,  the story of India, its people and places, and the overwhelming charm of its indigenous magic, runs like a colourful thread. Through the heat and the dust, the traditional values of small villages emerge, but even as diverse cultural changes begin to be noticeable, the spirituality of Hindu wisdom floats like a beautiful melody throughout the narrative.  

This is a very impressive debut book; the author has a real skill with words and has the unique ability to convey, in just a few phrases, an entire world. There is a gentle lyricism to the narrative which belies its strength, and even as the overwhelming theme of love and friendship is expertly explored, it is the poignant simplicity of the narrative which leaves a lasting impression. 

I really enjoyed Dancing to the Flute and have no hesitation in awarding it a 5 out of 5 star rating.

Thank you to Lindsay at the Little Reader Library for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Reviewed by Josie Barton - guest reviewer

Published by Alma Books

Many thanks to Josie for reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library. Josie writes a wonderful book review blog at JaffaReadsToo.

Thanks to the publisher for kindly sending a copy of this novel for review. 


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