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The Color of Our Sky, by Amita Trasi.

November 18, 2016

The Color of Our Sky, by Amita Trasi.  Bloomhill Books (2015), Edition: First edition, 424 pages.

5 stars—FAVORITE

A moving novel by a woman from India about two girls from different castes who are close as children but are separated as teenagers.  In a tale of love and betrayals, one of them returns to Mumbai as an adult to find the other and to learn about herself.

Amiti Trasi was born and raised in Mumbai.  She earned a degree in Human Resource Management which has enabled her to travel the world for international businesses.  She now lives in Houston. In writing her first novel, Trasi has turned back to her childhood in India.  With talent and skill, she creates a haunting novel that explores two patterns of life in her native country while revealing how betrayal and forgiveness play out in women’s lives.

In The Color of Our Sky, Trasi tells the stories of Tara, the daughter of a comfortable urban family and Mukta, a village girl recused from her destiny as a temple prostitute in her village and fostered in Tara’s family.  The girls bond closely, with Tara teaching Mukta about modern city life and Mukta sharing her own sensitivity and depth.  As teenagers, however, Mukta is kidnapped, and Tara feels responsible for her disappearance.  Over a decade later, Tara returns from the United States to look for the person she had once loved like a sister.  As she follows clues looking for Mukta, she discovers secrets in her own life and that of her family and friends. Meanwhile, Mukta has been caught by sexual traffickers and placed in a brothel where she pines for rescue.

In dealing with a complicated story, Trasi has constructed dual plot lines.  One follows Tara in a her search for Mukta in the near present.  The other starts with Mukta as a ten-year-old facing initiation to be a temple prostitute and moves forward as she joins Tara’s family and later after her kidnapping.  With flashbacks and memories, the two plots move toward a final reconciliation.  What is most impressive about the novel’s structure is how smoothly Trasi deals with its complexity, never leaving her readers behind.

Despite its obvious themes of pain and loss, The Color of Our Sky is not a grim or depressing book.  While unflinching about the horrors of prostitution and sex trafficking, Trasi deliberately writes about Mukta’s experiences in the brothels with distance rather than explicit descriptions.  Compassion for those who are suffering pervades the novel.  The characters are real and compelling, as are the gradual revelations they, and readers, experience.

In addition, Trasi writes with grace and charm.  Her descriptions of people and places are rich and evocative.  The first lines of the novel describe Tara’s arrival at her former home in Mumbai and offer an example of what is to come.

The memory of that moment hit me like a surging ocean wave—drawing me into it—the sour smell of darkness, those sobs erupting like an echo from a bottomless pit.

I enthusiastically recommend this novel to other readers who are looking for rich, human stories in which people learn and grow.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2016 6:27 pm

    The issue of rape in India is a real blight on their society, I hope a book like this helps to shift cultural attitudes somehow…

  2. November 19, 2016 12:30 pm

    Yes. It is a blight here also–and anywhere that women are not respected.

  3. aartichapati permalink
    November 28, 2016 4:46 pm

    Long time no see, friend! This book sounds very similar to The Kite Runner in some aspects. Would you draw that comparison or do you think it stands as more original concept?

    I have the book Homegoing on my shelf to read which is also about sisters (and their descendants) and the impact of slavery on both Africa and America.

  4. November 28, 2016 7:02 pm

    Good see you,too, I have missed you. This is very much a women’s book–including sections about rape and prostitution.

    I enjoyed Homegoing. You can see my review.

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