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The Conch Bearerby Chitra B Divakaruni
Synopses & Reviews
In a dingy shack in the less-than-desirable Indian neighborhood he calls home, twelve-year-old Anand is entrusted with a conch shell that possesses mystical powers. His task is to return the shell to its rightful home many hundreds of miles away. Accompanying him are Nisha, a headstrong but resourceful child of the streets, and a mysterious man of indeterminate age and surprising resources named Abadhyatta. His quest will take him farther from home than he's ever been and will teach him more than he ever imagined — and it will force him to make a poignant decision that will change him forever.
"Divakaruni (The Mistress of Spices) makes her children's book debut with this exotic novel, in which fantasy threads intertwine with spiritual teachings. While 12-year-old Anand is at work one day at a tea stall in Kolkata, India, he offers a beggar man his own ration of tea and pooris, only to discover that the man is a healer, Abhaydatta. Abhaydatta enlists Anand's help in his mission to return a sacred conch shell to the community of Master Healers that live in the Himalayas. The way in which Abhaydatta wins Anand's confidence is just a preview of the magic and miracles to follow (he heals Anand's sister, who had stopped speaking after witnessing a murder). A street urchin joins the pair on their journey; Surabhanu, the one who stole the conch from its rightful place in the Himalayas, with powers dark enough to match Abhaydatta's light, dogs their every step; and the journey itself brims with magical beasts and enchanted streams, cliffs and winds. As with any true quest, Anand must look within in order to complete his mission. Divakaruni keeps her tale fresh and riveting with details of India's smells, sights and tastes, with characters that possess both good and evil, and with her exploration of the fine line between faith and magic. Young readers can only hope for more from this master storyteller. Ages 8-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The acclaimed short-story author and poet transports readers from the teeming streets of India to the rolling Himalayas, in this lyrical, exotic, and rich middle-grade fantasy.
About the Author
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the author of three acclaimed novels, The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, and The Vine of Desire; two short story collections, Arranged Marriage and The Unknown Errors of Our Lives; four volumes of poetry; and a novel for young readers, Neela: Victory Song. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Born in India, she currently lives in Texas, where she teaches writing at the University of Houston.
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