Friday, 7 August 2009

Absence & Books - 2

Most of the time I go out and seek books, having read a review here, seen an interview there. Then there are some books that seek you out. Sadia Shepard's 'The Girl from Foreign' is one such book. It had been bought by my wife and had been lying at home for god knows how long. I stumbled on it when she lent it to her friend.
'The Girl from Foreign' is a memoir, a travelogue, a love story, an investigation into the history of a people and into the complexities of relationships created by shared cultures and unshared geographies . The prose is beautiful, with unexpected phrases that turn ordinary events into vivid images.
Nana, Sadia Shepard's grandmother was a Bene Israel from Maharashtra's west coast who became the third wife of a muslim businessman, moved to Pakistan after the partition, brought up her children as muslims. Her mother married an American, a christian, and settled in the USA. Widowed and spending her time between her sons and daugther's houses, Nana begins to explore her lost religion. That, and the special bond that Nana and Sadia shared, becomes the driving force behind Sadia's trip to India - to search for Nana's roots and her own as well. Without that, neither Nana's nor Sadia's soul can find peace...
Sadia Shepard has taken some interesting photographs of the Bene Israel community in India. You will find them interspersed in the book. She has also made a documentary on the community; the DVD should be in my hand by next week.
Literary reasons apart, 'The Girl from Foreign' is a moving book. Read it!
Or read more about it on www.sadiashepard.com

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