Village by the Sea, Anita Desai

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Anita Desai's Village by the Sea is set in a small village called Thul, which is 14 kilometres from Bombay. Lila, the eldest child among four siblings, is but thirteen years of age, yet she already has the outlook and maturity of an adult. Her brother Hari, twelve is the only person with whom she can share her troubles . Their mother is an invalid and needs constant care and nursing. Nobody knows what exactly is wrong with her but she grows weaker and weaker with every passing day. Their father, who has been out of work for months, is in a permanent drunken stupor, from which he arises occasionally to shout at his family. What with two younger sisters to take care of as well as their mother, life for Lila and Hari is not easy. Their father is most useful when he is away at the local toddy shop, getting drunk. There is a constant need for money as the family is almost always in debt. Then one day, Hari decides he's had just about enough and leaves for Bombay – the Bombay where dreams come true and ambitions grow into reality. Lila is left alone, to manage her sisters Bela and Kamal and her mother and somehow keep the family strings together. Help comes from an unexpected source, the rich DeSilva's. Meanwhile, Hari is new in the great city of Bombay, and all alone. A kind restaurant proprietor, Jagu, takes pity on him and welcomes him to work in his restaurant. There, Hari builds a strong friendship with Mr. Panwallah, the lovable watch repairer whose shop is just beside Jagu's. Set against the backdrop of a typical Indian fishing village, The Village by the Sea will leave a lasting impression on the mind of the reader. Anita Desai's vivid imagery and appropriate settings and a good plot make this, a book well worth reading.

Anita Desai's wonderful novel tells the story of a family living in the small fishing village of Thul, 14 kilometres from Bombay, India. It is more precisely the story of two young people, Hari, a boy of 14, and Lila, a girl of 13, with...
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