The Selector of Souls by Shauna Singh Baldwin

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This novel disturbed me — in a good way; which is to say that I learned a great deal. It’s just that I wanted to enjoy it more than I did. I wanted it to run away with my imagination. But Baldwin gives us so much information we realize she doesn’t really trust our imaginations.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

The Selector of Souls begins with a scene that is terrifying, harrowing and yet strangely tender: we're in the mid ranges of the Himalayas as a young woman gives birth to her third child with the help of her mother, Damini. The birth brings no joy, just a horrible accounting, and the act that follows--the huge sacrifice made by Damini out of love of her daughter--haunts the novel.

In Shauna Singh Baldwin's enthralling novel, two fascinating, strong-willed women must deal with the relentless logic forced upon them by survival: Damini, a Hindu midwife, and Anu, who flees an abusive marriage for the sanctuary of the Catholic church. When Sister Anu comes to Damini's home village to open a clinic, their paths cross, and each are certain they are doing what's best for women. What do health, justice, education and equality mean for women when India is marching toward prosperity, growth and becoming a nuclear power? If the baby girls and women around them are to survive, Damini and Anu must find creative ways to break with tradition and help this community change from within.

 

About Shauna Singh Baldwin

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Shauna Singh Baldwin was born in Montreal and grew up in India. She is the author ofEnglish Lessons and Other Storiesand the novelsWhat The Body RemembersandThe Tiger Claw. Her short fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in literary magazines in the U.S.A., Canada, and India. From 1991-1994 she was an independent radio producer, hosting "Sunno!" the East-Indian-American radio show where you don't have to be East-Indian to listen. Shauna holds an M.B.A. from Marquette University and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Her first novel,What the Body Remembers, was published in 1999. It has been translated into eleven languages, and was awarded the 2000 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book, Canada/Caribbean region.The Tiger Claw, published in 2004, was nominated for Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize and has been optioned for a film. Shauna's awards include India's international Nehru Award (gold medal) for public speaking, and the national Shastri Award, a silver medal for English prose. She is the recipient of the 1995 Writer's Union of Canada Award for short prose and the 1997 Canadian Literary Award.English Lessonsreceived the 1996 Friends of American Writers Award.
 
Published September 25, 2012 by Knopf Canada. 561 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Selector of Souls
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Sep 22 2012

This is a detailed, wrenching account of an entrenched cultural issue that, 20 years later, continues to make disturbing headlines.

Read Full Review of The Selector of Souls | See more reviews from Toronto Star

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Donna Bailey Nurse on Nov 02 2012

This novel disturbed me — in a good way; which is to say that I learned a great deal.

Read Full Review of The Selector of Souls | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Donna Bailey Nurse on Nov 02 2012

This novel disturbed me — in a good way; which is to say that I learned a great deal. It’s just that I wanted to enjoy it more than I did. I wanted it to run away with my imagination. But Baldwin gives us so much information we realize she doesn’t really trust our imaginations.

Read Full Review of The Selector of Souls | See more reviews from National Post arts

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