The only thing Sripathi Rao has been proud of is his daughter, Maya, but he cut off ties with her when she married a fellow student at her American university. When Maya and her husband are killed in a car crash, Sripathi is left with his regrets and Maya's seven-year-old daughter, Nandana.
What else were heroes for but to swat troubles away like so many flies? Sripathi Rao's life is as arid as the summers of Toturpuram, the dusty South Indian town where he lives. All he has wanted was an ordinary life with a solid job and a happy family. But Sripathi has never been a lucky man. Now aging and disenchanted, struggling to keep his job, Sripathi lives in his crumbling ancestral house with his lonely spinster sister, bitter manipulative mother, and a wife and son he hardly knows anymore. The only thing in his life that Sripathi Rao has been proud of is his talented, vibrant daughter Maya. But when Maya marries Alan, a fellow student at her American university, Sripathi angrily cuts off all his ties with her. Then he receives a phone call from Vancouver informing him that his daughter and her husband have been killed in a car crash. All Sripathi is left with are his regrets and Maya's seven year old daughter Nandana who has he has never seen. Confused, resentful, and scared Nandana has to adjust to a strange new family she has never met and to Toturpuram, a far cry from Vancouver. In surviving this tragedy, and becoming all the stronger for it, the family become heroes of the truest kind. Warm, witty and wise, this is a beautifully written novel from the acclaimed author of Tamarind Mem.
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Winner of The Commonwealth Writer's Prize Best Book Caribbean and Canada 2001 Short-listed for Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize - Fiction 2000
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