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A Girl & A River

A Girl & A River

K.R. Usha
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It is the 1930s and the fire of the freedom movement from distant Bengal and Delhi is warming the languid bones of the small town in Mysore, where Kaveri and Setu grow up. Theirs is a liberal, prosperous household and the family takes its privileges for granted. Mylaraiah, their father, believes that they are twice protected from such delusions as “swaraj”, once by the British and then by the maharaja. While Setu absorbs their father’s unquestioning veneration of the British, Kaveri, profoundly affected by Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to their town, comes to recognize their attempts to be ‘more English than the English’ as rather shameful. In an attempt to follow her heart and take charge of her own future, Kaveri defies her father and participates in the Quit India march organized by Shyam, the hot-headed revolutionary she is attracted to. Angered and jealous, and loyal to his father, Setu is forced into betraying his sister. The small town is shaken into life quite brutally when it faces a police firing for the first time in its history. But Kaveri is safe and home, or so Setu thinks . . . Fifty years later, Setu’s daughter tries to unravel the circumstances of her uneasy upbringing, of the grit-in-the-eye feeling to her childhood; understand her cold father, her self-effacing mother and their refusal to talk about their past. Two books and a letter found in a tea tin in the attic lead her to Kaveri, and it is Kaveri whose fate remains shrouded in mystery, who has the answer to her questions. But even with all the pieces of the jigsaw in hand, the picture eludes her. She is forced to come to terms with the insidiousness of family bonds as she realizes that the truth, if it at all exists, is made of elisions and imperfections.

Imprint: India Penguin

Published: May/2007

ISBN: 9780143101239

Length : 336 Pages

MRP : ₹299.00

A Girl & A River

K.R. Usha

It is the 1930s and the fire of the freedom movement from distant Bengal and Delhi is warming the languid bones of the small town in Mysore, where Kaveri and Setu grow up. Theirs is a liberal, prosperous household and the family takes its privileges for granted. Mylaraiah, their father, believes that they are twice protected from such delusions as “swaraj”, once by the British and then by the maharaja. While Setu absorbs their father’s unquestioning veneration of the British, Kaveri, profoundly affected by Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to their town, comes to recognize their attempts to be ‘more English than the English’ as rather shameful. In an attempt to follow her heart and take charge of her own future, Kaveri defies her father and participates in the Quit India march organized by Shyam, the hot-headed revolutionary she is attracted to. Angered and jealous, and loyal to his father, Setu is forced into betraying his sister. The small town is shaken into life quite brutally when it faces a police firing for the first time in its history. But Kaveri is safe and home, or so Setu thinks . . . Fifty years later, Setu’s daughter tries to unravel the circumstances of her uneasy upbringing, of the grit-in-the-eye feeling to her childhood; understand her cold father, her self-effacing mother and their refusal to talk about their past. Two books and a letter found in a tea tin in the attic lead her to Kaveri, and it is Kaveri whose fate remains shrouded in mystery, who has the answer to her questions. But even with all the pieces of the jigsaw in hand, the picture eludes her. She is forced to come to terms with the insidiousness of family bonds as she realizes that the truth, if it at all exists, is made of elisions and imperfections.

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K.R. Usha

Usha K.R. is the author of the novels Sojourn (1998), The Chosen (2003), A Girl and a River (2007) and Monkey-man (2010). Her novels have been listed for several awards, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Man Asia, and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. A Girl and a River won the Vodafone Crossword Award, 2007. Monkey-man was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, 2012. Her short story 'Sepia Tones' won the Katha Award for Creative Writing back in 1995. Usha K.R. She lives in Bangalore.