Buddha’s Orphans

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I was fortunate enough to get hold of an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of Buddha’s Orphans,  but wasn’t sure whether I would like the book or not.  The thing that most appealed about the book was the setting in Nepal.  It turns out that I love the book and that it was hard to put down.

The story begins with Raja, an infant discovered by Bokey Ba, on the streets.  He is soon taken in by Kaki, and then stolen from her.  You imagine as you begin reading that the story will continue through Raja’s life and that the story will center around him, but the story actually begins to focus on Nilu, the love of Raja’s life.  Nilu enters the story about page 47 in an unusual way.  I congratulate Samrat Upadhyay for bringing her into the story in the way that he did – you have no idea that she is to become the main character in this story.

Samrat Upadhyay’s new novel, Buddha’s Orphans, uses Nepal’s political upheavals of the past century as a backdrop to the story of Raja and Nilu.  Their love story scandalizes both families and takes readers through time and across the globe to the United States, through the loss of and search for children, and through several generations, hinting that perhaps old bends can, in fact, be righted in future branches of a family tree.

I love “Buddha’s Orphans” and highly recommend it!

Book Details: Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (July 14, 2010), 448 pages, ISBN: 9780618517503

Isabel Allende

Thursday evening, May 6th, I had the good fortune to attend a talk and reading by the most famous living Latin American author.  Isabel Allende read from her new novel Island Beneath the Sea at the Atlanta History Center to an auditorium full of fans.  She was a delight!!

It had been years since someone had read to me and I had quite forgotten what a pleasure that can be.  Author Allende reading her new book in her wonderful Latin American accent made for one of the most pleasureable evenings out I have had in a long time.  Island Beneath the Sea is an exciting story and as usual has a strong female character.  Notably, Allende advised when asked about her female characters from a member of the audience, that she did not know any women who were not strong.  Who can’t love an author that thinks that way?!

I also want to congratulate the Atlanta History Center for doing a good job of making the reading and signing a pleasurable experience for those attending.  I plan to attend more events there in the future.  The parking was good, the grounds are beautiful, the auditorium was comfortable, and the open bar wa a nice touch.

I have never read a book by Isabel Allende, but had fully intended to for some years.  Now that I have a signed copy of her new book, I will bump it up the “to-read” list.