Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Climbing the Stairs

Vidya is 15 and wants to go to college, unusual for a Brahmin girl growing up in British India during World War II. She doesn't pay much attention to the world war at first, finding the struggles for India's independence more interesting. When she discovers her father is working with the freedom fighters, she is spellbound and wants to join the group. Purely by chance, she and her father end up in the middle of a protest and her father is terribly injured by the police. Vidya is devestated and despondent over the subsequent move to her grandfather's house. Here the men and women live seperately, and Vidya can sense her cruel aunt planning to marry Vidya off as soon as possible. When Vidya breaks the house rules and finds solace in the library on the men's floor, she finds choices begin to open up for her and the change that continues to find her can be dealt with in different ways, even by a young girl with limited freedoms.

Climbing the Stairs is a fascinating novel. The setting is vividly described and you will cheer for Vidya and rage against her suffocating family members. Vidya's brother, Kitta, deserves a story of his own (could we see a companion novel?). This book will appeal to readers who want a love story, who like exotic settings, who enjoy coming-of-age stories, or who enjoy great fiction. I can't recommend it enough!

1 comment:

EmilyLady said...

I love it as well! This is truly a wonderful novel! I hope people see this page and are motivated to pick up "Climbing the Stairs".