The Folded Earth

Saturday, March 07, 2015

I picked The Folded Earth up a while ago and its beautiful front cover has been calling out to me ever since. I finally managed to read it last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the sort of book that relishes in the mundane daily activities of ordinary folk. Except the ordinary folk it focuses on are based in the Himalyan mountains and they each have their own characteristics which are both distinctive and admirable. Maya is the protagonist, a teacher and young widow. She arrives in Ranikhet, a hill station in the Himalayas where she grieves for the husband she tragically lost in a mountaineering expedition. Working at the local school and befriending an old aristocrat, Diwan Sahib, Maya seeks solace in her mountainside dwelling and finds there is much to be found on her doorstep.

This story doesn't try to be exciting or bigger than it is. It is a genuine, small story about a group of people that just happen to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Anuradha Roy doesn't shy away from depicting poverty or sorrow, but she is surprisingly optimistic and her subtlety ebbs and flows, drawing you into the dark forests and steep ravines of Ranikhet, and the lives of its inhabitants.

I'll admit, not an awful lot happens in this novel, and that is exactly why I liked it so much. I never once felt rushed to get to a conclusion. I allowed the story to seep into my imagination and at the end of a busy day, that is exactly what I want from a book. Reading is a form of escapism, and where better place to escape to than a tiny village, thrumming with life in the Himalyas? This is a gentle read and sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered.

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