Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Climbing the stairs - REVIEWS

Praise for CLIMBING THE STAIRS

From Institutional Review Journals

… an intricate and convincing backdrop of a conservative Brahmin home in a time of change… In an author’s note, Venkatraman comments on several elements of the novel, including Ghandhi’s nonviolent revolution, Indian volunteers in the British Army during World War II, and her family history…The striking cover art, which suggests Vidya’s isolation as well as the unusual setting, will draw readers to this vividly told story…

STARRED REVIEW, Booklist

…Venkatraman makes a memorable debut with this lushly evoked novel set in India during WWII…More than a feisty Cinderella story (and yes, Vidya does find a prince), this novel vivifies a unique era and culture as it movingly expresses how love and hope can blossom even under the most dismal of circumstances…

STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

…Opening with the festival of Krishna Jayanthi, Venkatraman so skillfully weaves Hindu words, traditions, and religious festivals into her story that readers understand the vocabulary and appreciate the beliefs…Vidya achieves the psychic distance to ponder cultural and religious similarities and differences by way of her philosophically minded appa and her Jewish best friend. Mention of the indigo famine, of racism…and of “Ahimsa”, the tradition of nonviolence, bring Indian history to life on the page. With a delightfully strong female protagonist who struggles between tradition and the values she holds dear, this novel will capture the imaginations of many readers…

VOYA, 5 Q, 4 P review (“for all intents and purposes, this rating is the same as a STAR” says my editor)

…The novel excels in its detailed depiction of a Brahmin girlhood and family life during a time of intense social and political change…

Kirkus

…This is a poignant look at a young woman’s vigilance to break from expectations and create her own destiny amid a country’s struggle for independence…

School Library Journal

…After reading this fine, often heart-breaking novel, I noticed that it’s for “young adults.” Well, I’m a “youngish adult” and I loved it…

Sam Coale, The Providence Journal

…Readers who ignore such labels will find a rich, complex story…The book explores many themes – a young girl’s coming of age; feminism, colonialism; and the Hindu tenets of nonviolence…

Betty Cotter, The South County Independent

…A bestseller may be born in Westerly on Thursday…

Marshall Williams, The Westerly Sun

…an outstanding debut novel…

Dr. Susan Stan, Professor of English, Central Michigan University

…I couldn't put it down…It was so wonderful, well written, and I marveled at how you navigated the historical and political context, commenting and using it as a backdrop without letting it overwhelm the story…So many threads beautifully woven together…I like it that you never make the easy choices (or your character doesn't), and the way she needs to navigate her pride…The ending was so satisfying, as well, the way she learns and grows…

Kelly Easton, Author, Hiroshima Dreams

Anonymous reader reviews:

…I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it…

…I thoroughly enjoyed the book…an exciting read…an exceptional job…

… I read Climbing the Stairs with fascination…a valuable novel…

…Your book is an outstanding one. Congratulations!…

…a fascinating and appealing story…

…Venkatraman portrays the highly individualized Vidya in a way that the reader can immediately connect to her…The plot is thrilling and I found myself having a hard time putting the book down… This is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read. ..The balance between plot and history makes it so enjoyable...I would most definitely recommend this book to any reader, especially one who loves historical fiction…

…I started your book over the weekend and could not put it down until I finished every page! I was very taken with Vidya--she was very three-dimensionally drawn--and really hated to see the story end…Maybe you can write a sequel!.. I love that you mixed in so much of the historical context, but also I got to learn more about Hinduism and the Indian culture and festivals…Many congratulations on an impressive work!...I just loved the book and will purchase copies for friends…

Links to online news and reviews:

http://www.projo.com/books/content/BOOK-CLIMBING-STAIRS_05-18-08_6HA2FQC_v7.b6a7bc.html

http://desimomzclub.blogspot.com/2008/05/climbing-stairs.html

http://frontstreetbookshop.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp?s=localbestsellers

http://www.uri.edu/news/releases/index.php?id=4393

http://www.indianewengland.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=067EF0018A9241B6805AC0C0E8C725C8

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