Nestled in the foothills of the Himalaya, the small village of Ranikhet exists within itself. Its inhabitants live simple, hard-working lives without a hint of anonymity; some are poor, illiterate “hill people” while others are respected, titled men of a bygone India. The village is so self-contained and its visitors so few that there's rarely a stranger among them. Their strongest connection lies in the natural world around them; the wildness of nature and of life reflected in it. This is where Maya, a young woman disowned by her parents and widowed far too soon, seeks refuge from her troubled past. Whether she is running towards or away from her insatiable demons is unforeseeable. As she hides herself within the simplicity of village life Maya forges relationships with those around her, primarily her landlord, an ex-diwan, and the neighboring family who are also tenants on the estate. Yet, as Maya begins to feel she is finally becoming rooted in the familiarity of her situation changes uproot the village in the form of political disquiet, not to mention an elusive new relative who has suddenly returned to her elderly landlord’s life.
This is the foundation for The Folded Earth, Anuradha Roy’s second novel which was long-listed for the 2011 Man Asian Prize. It’s the foundation, but as the story progresses so much more reveals itself in the complexities and heartwarming nuances of the village and its full cast of characters. This is an ideal read for a book club, as it has me aching to divulge all the little details of the characters that stayed with me and to discuss the meaning behind some twists and turns of the novel.Read More