Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman MAG

July 14, 2010
By LihuaEmily SILVER, North Kingstown, Rhode Island
LihuaEmily SILVER, North Kingstown, Rhode Island
7 articles 3 photos 199 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is said that there's no such thing as a free lunch. But the universe is the ultimate free lunch." -Alan Guth

Fifteen-year-old Vidya wants to go to college. This is, of course, a rather weird choice in British-occupied India in the early 1940s. When Vidya receives encouragement from her charismatic, loving father, she is thrilled. Then they happen upon a peace march in the street, and despite Appa's warnings, Vidya follows him into the crowd and her universe collapses.

Written gently, with the flavor of an exotic and beautiful tongue, but with rich description and immaculately chosen vocabulary, Climbing the Stairs is a novel of heartrending devastation and the terrifying truth of history. The reader, whether male or female, teenage or adult, will not be able to close the book until Vidya's last words. I recommend it to those who hurt and to those who long to be absorbed in a culture not their own.

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