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      Secondhand Souls

      Christopher Moore 9780061779787

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Gifted Cover

ISBN13: 9780812977943
ISBN10: 0812977947
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Rumi Vasi is 10 years, 2 months, 13 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes, and 6 seconds old. Shes figured that the likelihood of her walking home from school with the boy she likes, John Kemble, is 0.2142, a probability severely reduced by the lacy dress and thick woolen tights her father, and Indian émigré, forces her to wear. Rumi is a gifted child, and her father, Mahesh, believes that strict discipline is the key to nurturing her genius if the family has any hope of making its mark on its adoptive country.

Four years later, a teenage Rumi is at the center of an intense campaign by her parents to make her the youngest student ever to attend Oxford University, an effort that requires an unrelenting routine of study. Yet Rumi is growing up like any other normal teen: her mind often drifts to potent distractions . . . from music to love.

Rumis parents want nothing other than to give Rumi an exceptional life. As her father outlines ever more regimented study schedules, her mother longs for India and forcefully reminds Rumi of her roots. In the end, the intense expectations of a family with everything to prove will be a combustible ingredient as an intelligent but naive girl is thrust into the adult world before she has time to grow up.

In her stunningly eloquent debut novel, Nikita Lalwani pits a parents dream against a childs. Deftly pondering the complexities and consequences that accompany the best intentions, Gifted explores just how far one person will push another, and how much can be endured, in the name of love.

Advance praise for Gifted

“A triumph . . . fluid, original, clever, glitteringly vivid, funny . . . All the conventional pieties and forms of Indian immigrant identity and trauma are so wittily preempted, and yet theres a sure grasp, at the serious core of the novel, of the deep reverberations of politics and history. I couldnt bear it when it ended.”

-Tessa Hadley, author of The Master Bedroom

“This is an outstanding piece of writing-rich, vivid, fluent, and well paced-with a wonderful cast of well-developed, engaging characters and a constantly surprising story line.”

-Gerard Woodward, author of A Curious Earth

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Nikita Lalwani was born in Rajasthan, India, and raised in Cardiff, Wales. She directed documentaries at the BBC for several years before receiving her MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University. Lalwani lives in London. Gifted is her first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Denise Morland, July 25, 2010 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
Gifted is an interesting look at the immigrant experience through the eyes of a young math prodigy. Rumika is the daughter of two Indian emigres, her highly disciplined father and her very religious and traditional mother. Both see Rumi as their prodigy, their one real chance to succeed beyond measure. But Rumi is just a young girl, never allowed to let loose and be normal. As she nears accomplishments even her parents never thought she could reach the tension within her builds. In the end Rumi has to decide for herself how much she is willing to sacrifice for her parents ambitions.

This is a complicated book with many layers. While most of the book is about the highly competitive world of child prodigies it also touches on the immigrant experience, arranged marriages, racism, and coming of age in America. Gifted is well-written with an easy flow that made it a quick read despite the heavy content and often dark tone. This is a book that made me think long and hard about the ethics of how we choose to raise our children.

I listened to the audio version of Gifted. It was beautifully read by Sneha Mathan. She captured the quickly shifting moods of a teenager perfectly. I'm a sucker for a lovely accent and Sneha's is obviously perfect for this book.
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Product Details

Lalwani, Nikita
Random House Trade
Culture conflict
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.96x5.22x.69 in. .50 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Gifted New Trade Paper
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$14.00 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812977943 Reviews:
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