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The Age of Shiva: A Novel | [Manil Suri]

The Age of Shiva: A Novel

Meera, the narrator, is 17 years old when she catches her first glimpse of Dev, performing a song so infused with passion that it arouses in her the first flush of erotic longing. She wonders if she can steal him away from Roopa, her older, more beautiful sister, who has brought her along to see him.
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Publisher's Summary

Following his spectacular debut novel, The Death of Vishnu, Manil Suri returns with a mesmerizing story of modern India, richly layered with themes from Hindu mythology. The Age of Shiva is at once a powerful story of a country in turmoil and an extraordinary portrait of maternal love.

Meera, the narrator, is 17 years old when she catches her first glimpse of Dev, performing a song so infused with passion that it arouses in her the first flush of erotic longing. She wonders if she can steal him away from Roopa, her older, more beautiful sister, who has brought her along to see him.

When Meera's reverie comes true, it does not lead to the fairy-tale marriage she imagined. She escapes her overbearing father only to find herself thrust into the male-dominated landscape of India after independence.

Dev's family is orthodox and domineering, his physical demands oppressive. His brother Arya lusts after her with the same intensity that fuels his right-wing politics. Although Meera develops an unexpected affinity with her sister-in-law, Sandhya, the tenderness they share is as heartbreaking as it is fleeting.

It is only when her son is born that Meera begins to imagine a life of fulfillment. She engulfs him with a love so deep, so overpowering, that she must fear its consequences.

Meera's unforgettable story, embodying Shiva as a symbol of religious upheaval, places The Age of Shiva among the most compelling novels to emerge from contemporary India..

©2007 Manil Suri; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A finely conceived, absorbing and powerful book." (Kirkus)
"Suri's vivid portrait of a woman in post-independence India engages timeless themes of self-determination." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 06-29-08
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 06-29-08 Member Since 2005

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
    758
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    340
    174
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    283
    6
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    A few years ago, I listened to Manil Suri's The Death of Vishnu and was looking forward to the next novel in his projected trilogy. Sadly, I found The Age of Shiva a real disappointment, primarily because the narrator/main character, Meera, is so unlikeable. She is jealous, selfish, self-pitying, vengeful, blaming, inconsistent, and self-justifying. Her obsession with her son goes beyond dysfunctional; I was surprised that she ever stopped breast feeding him. (After all, they still sleep together and smoochy kiss when he is 13.) I disliked her so much that in the scene where she is planning suicide, I just kept wishing she'd do it and end it all--for me as well as for her. Maybe if I knew more about Shiva, I'd have appreciated the novel more; I know that she is both creator and destroyer, but I'd say the balance was definitely off, since Meera wallows in the destruction of every possible positive relationship in her life. The reader is good, and Suri's prose and the creation of a few interesting secondary characters saves this book from an even lower rating.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy 11-26-08
    Tracy 11-26-08 Member Since 2008

    Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    191
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    "The Age of Wasted Words"

    This was one of the most boring books I have ever listened to. The author goes into such long and drawn out passages about her son, playing games with him, bathing him, feeding him, on, and on and on. There was not much of a plot or story line, I kept waiting for something interesting to happen. This book could have been shortened to one-third of its size. If I would have been reading this book I never would have finished it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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