The Hero's Walk

The Hero's Walk

A Novel

Book - 2001
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In a small town by the Bay of Bengal in India, Sripathi Rao, a headstrong man and disenchanted copywriter, lives in his crumbling ancestral home, uncomfortably aware of the encroaching modern world. Then, early one morning, Sripathi is awakened by a call from Canada: his long-estranged daughter and her husband have been killed in a car accident. Their surviving seven-year-old child, Nandana, is about to become his reluctant ward. Yet Nandana has never met her grandfather, has never been to India, and hasn't spoken a word since the tragedy.

With The Hero's Walk , Anita Rau Badami ushers us into the colorful lives of the Rao family: Nirmala, Sripathi's frustrated but dutiful wife; Ammayya, his miserly and eccentric mother; his sister, Putti, unmarried and in her forties, still dreaming of love; and Arun, his only son, an unemployed environmental crusader. When Sripathi brings Nandana to India, life suddenly changes for the entire family. Small, silent Nandana, in fact, may be the one person who can bring harmony into the house and hope back into her grandfather's life.

Steeped in the colors, customs, and sensuality of India, The Hero's Walk is a moving story that shows the potential for heroism in the small acts of ordinary people. It presents a family in all its messy, glorious contradictions with insight, humor, and compassion. And it marks the arrival of a gifted writer of uncommon talent and heart.

Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781565123120
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: 359 pages ;,23 cm


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Well written and emotionally evocative. I think the underlying message is that India has to change. Children are not the projection of their parent's ego and social status. I a not sure who the hero was doing the walking, maybe it was the "hero" pen. The image of the turtles on the sea shore in the last chapter was brilliant.

May 28, 2018

There is a lot of food for thought....should we walk the Hero's Walk---a life of dignity and
courage or should we live our lives to gain what we can from it and break all the rules of
humbleness, dignity and courage....beautifully written

Oct 18, 2016

I can't say enough good things about this book! The writing was flawless and the story, interlaced with an intricate array of memorable characters, was amazing.

From crochety grandma Ammala to the trio of girlhood bullies who torment Nandana, the characters solidify the neighborhood that surrounds the Rao family as they navigate the changing world around them, from Brahmin supremacy to inclusivity.

Aug 30, 2016

I was bewildered that Sripathi's elderly mother, Ammayya, didn't learn from her son's estrangement from his daughter, Maya, when she opposed her Brahmin daughter, Putti, marrying the rags-to-riches milkman's son. The scenes in this book are emotional, vivid, and lively. In the end, the family moves on with its lives ... it is not "happily ever after." The novel would have benefited from a glossary of Indian words such as khachda, mutthal, and agda-bagda.

Jul 13, 2016

Another Canada Reads novel completed. One sure way to get a good read. I liked this story a lot. It saddens me that so many cultures restrict personal feelings and desires for one's own future. So much sadness in this eastern/western theme.... leaves one feeling rather 'heavy'.

Jul 10, 2016

Loved this book! The book is well organized and beautifully written with a great sense of kind and good humour. One of the main characters - a mother-in-law - may remind someone you may know!

May 21, 2016

Badami deals very well with the Inter and Intra generational conflicts of a South Indian Brahmin family beset by a tragedy. Will the tragedy bring them together or pull them apart? Badami is a great storyteller and handles the delicate subject with finesse.

May 10, 2016

I really enjoyed this book. The struggle of culture and maintaining traditions threaten this Indian family. Letting go and following their hearts finally allowed them happiness.
A young girl orphaned in Canada is brought to live with grandparents in India. How the older generation adapts to changing times.

Mar 26, 2016

Sripathi, an Indian man estranged from his daughter, hears she died in a car accident in Vancouver, Canada, leaving only her daughter behind. Reluctantly, he brings her back to India, where both lives start anew.

Sounds interesting, at least the first half.

Badami sets up the tragedy well in the first half, detailing the strife and troubles plaguing the main character, Sripathi, from his broken relationship with his father, his failure to be a doctor later, to his daughter embarrassing him by revoking the arranged marriage he set up for his daughter. The language and description used for the atmosphere is excellent. Badami shows us the bleak environment that Sripathi lives day to day, and how he feels about it.

When we get to half of the book, the part where granddaughter and grandfather meet, it goes astray. Other chapters are preoccupied with other uninteresting characters and their uninteresting problems. The only redeeming part was reading about granddaughter Nandana, and her difficulty in coping with her new homeland. There doesn't seem to be any growth between grandfather and granddaughter. Things just happen. Then it ends.

Book starts beautifully, but ends flat.

I'm glad the book did not win 2016 Canada Reads contest. Story is more important than character, description, setting, or quality writing combined. The book had the latter, not the former.

Mar 23, 2016

Finalist in Canada Reads 2016 and I absolutely hope it wins tomorrow. I think this book is so beautifully written and takes me to India to see a world I don't know.

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