The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami

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Synopsis

In a small town by the Bay of Bengal in India, Sripathi Rao, a headstrong man and disenchanted copywriter, lives in his crumbling ancestral home, uncomfortably aware of the encroaching modern world. Then, early one morning, Sripathi is awakened by a call from Canada: his long-estranged daughter and her husband have been killed in a car accident. Their surviving seven-year-old child, Nandana, is about to become his reluctant ward. Yet Nandana has never met her grandfather, has never been to India, and hasn't spoken a word since the tragedy.

With The Hero's Walk, Anita Rau Badami ushers us into the colorful lives of the Rao family: Nirmala, Sripathi's frustrated but dutiful wife; Ammayya, his miserly and eccentric mother; his sister, Putti, unmarried and in her forties, still dreaming of love; and Arun, his only son, an unemployed environmental crusader. When Sripathi brings Nandana to India, life suddenly changes for the entire family. Small, silent Nandana, in fact, may be the one person who can bring harmony into the house and hope back into her grandfather's life.

Steeped in the colors, customs, and sensuality of India, The Hero's Walk is a moving story that shows the potential for heroism in the small acts of ordinary people. It presents a family in all its messy, glorious contradictions with insight, humor, and compassion. And it marks the arrival of a gifted writer of uncommon talent and heart.

 

About Anita Rau Badami

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Anita Rau Badami's short fiction has been published in The Malahat Review, Event, The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing, and the anthology Boundless Alberta. She lives in Vancouver.
 
Published January 1, 2001 by BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING PLC. 368 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Hero's Walk

Kirkus Reviews

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The child's presence, however, offers the prickly, embittered Sripathi, who cut his daughter off without a second thought, a chance to redeem himself, in part by becoming free of antiquated ideas about obligation and etiquette (represented, rather clunkily, by the family's rotting house).

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Publishers Weekly

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The flowering of young writers of Indian origin continues with Badami's deeply resonant debut novel, which places her in the ranks of writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Akhil Sharma and Manil Suri. The scion

Apr 01 2001 | Read Full Review of The Hero's Walk

Publishers Weekly

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In the course of the narrative, everyone in Sripathi's family undergoes a life change, and in the moving denouement, reconciliation grows out of tragedy, and Sripathi understands ""the chanciness of existence, and the hope and the loss that always accompanied life."" A bestseller in Canada, where...

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PopMatters

In the literary world, where publishers and writers are often scrambling for media attention, Indian writers seem to have a death grip on the largest market share.

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India Today

By that definition, the true hero in Anita Rau Badami's charming and lyrical second novel The Hero's Walk is Nirmala, who in the book blurb is merely categorised as a "wife".There is Sripathi Rao, "aged fifty-seven, father of two children (one dead), burnt out copywriter" and a man given to writi...

Jun 18 2001 | Read Full Review of The Hero's Walk

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