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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
17312149,725 (4)2
In 1984, following her mother's suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel to New Delhi from Canada to place her mother's ashes in their final resting place. On the night of their arrival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, Maya and her father are separated when the city erupts in chaos, and Maya must rely on Sandeep, a boy she has just met, for survival.… (mer)

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A bright pink cover kept catching my eye whenever I'd be in the library at work, and eventually I went over, picked it up, and discovered Karma.

Even as an English Ed major, I've never had a strong love for reading poetry for a variety of reasons (with some exceptions), so I've typically avoided books written in verse. I think I automatically assume that I'm going to have to decipher a bunch of figurative language and other stuff I don't really need to mess with in the same manner when reading a novel. But, I flipped through the book and it seemed to merely have the structure of poetry and not much beyond that, so I gave it a shot, and I'm so glad that I did.

The characters were beautiful, round, real; the emotions raw, believable, and touching. The settings were described simply, and yet they stood out in my head vividly.

I learned quite a bit about a culture I did not (and honestly still don't) know a lot about, and I was fascinated by these characters and their lives. It is a love story, but at the same time, it's so much more than that. It's a glimpse into normal lives disrupted by civil unrest and the clashing of cultures that aren't really all that different when you truly look at them. ( )
  Octjillery | May 5, 2020 |
Maya and her father are going from Canada to New Dehli to spread her mother’s ashes. They arrive, however, on the same day as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two of her guards. Maya and her father are separated in the riots that ensue, and she must disguise herself and ultimately rely on Sandeep, a boy she’s just met, to keep her safe and see that she gets home.

This young adult novel is told entirely in verse, making for a very fast read. It includes some pretty serious matter, however: religious strife between Sikhs and Hindus, civil and political unrest in India, moral courage, religious differences, and the treatment of women. Central to the plot is the differences between generations and the ability of parent and child to truly see one another’s point of view, and to forgive their differences. Also, one’s own capacity to forgive oneself for past mistakes.

Maya is a strong female lead, despite the trauma she’s faced and her withdrawal into herself. Somehow, she comes across as resilient, resourceful and tenacious, even when paralyzed by fear or indecision. Sandeep is a steadfast and courageous friend; having suffered his own tragedy early in life, he’s determined to help Maya find her way. The differences in their religions and socio-economic status will not deter him.

I’m a little concerned by the ending. I’m not at all sure that Maya will be safe in the future, but I applaud Ostlere for *not* giving us a happy ending, tied up in a pretty bow. ( )
  BookConcierge | Oct 31, 2017 |
This is the first novel i've read in verse. It tells of a riot, where the country was once again burned and the communal disharmony was in sync with people's fear.

Mostly, this is a story of a canadian immigrant girl who comes back to India and her bond with a boy name Sandeep.

The verses, are simple to understand, and yet they touch your every chord of your heart. The story grows on you on such a level, that you start even talking to yourself in verse.

Give this a read, for its a simple story told with better verse. It will leave a lasting impression on your mind for days to come after. ( )
  nefritri | Aug 16, 2017 |
Karma by Cathy Ostlere is about a young girl of two worlds, two religions, and two names. Maya/Jiva is the daughter of a Hindu mother and a Sikh father, who sought refuge and escape from cultural dishonour in India to find only cultural discrimination in Canada.

The embodiment of Maya/Jiva as the product of an interreligious marriage and daughter of two countries: an ancestral one and an inherited one, speaks of the displacement and liminality found in belonging to the peripheral, the outskirts of what is defined and acceptable—to always belonging to a place of in-between.

The book is literally written in poetic prose—a narrative of poems in diary form to share the story of Maya/Jiva’s experience and trauma regarding her mother, Leela’s feelings of isolation and loneliness as expressed in her mournful sonatas; and her father, Amar’s resolute belief in the opportunity of religious freedom and cultural acceptance in his new-found country as Indian immigrant, only to discover general skepticism, wariness, and gossip amongst the all-White Elsinore Canadian community.

Maya/Jiva’s “exotic” beauty and traditional sari only remind her of her “otherness” in regards to her Canadian peers: her best friend, Helen, and her infatuation found in the boy, Michael. But, that story is superficial compared to the traumatic event that leads her to return to India quite unexpectedly during the assassination if Indira Ghandi, the Prime Minister of India, on October 31, 1984 by two of her guards that were Sikh.

Once there, Maya/Jiva must witness the cultural divide between religions, the violence that erupts when a nation mourns for revenge, and what it is to be silent in the face of unspeakable acts.

There is also a secondary story as told in diary form by Sandeep , son of “Amma” and Barinder, orphan of the desert. He is a sensitive, resilient, and passionate character that suffers from his own trauma, which has resulted in memory loss of his origins. He, too, becomes a figure of displacement, a catalyst to the lowering of his family caste because of his “illegitimacy.”

Together, Maya/Jiva and Sandeep must define for themselves their own terms of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation as a nation battles against its divided beliefs and their own personal choices.

This book was so mournful at times, I needed a break from the weight of its lamenting and grief. And yet, it was a simple, fast, and beautifully poetic read that far outweighed its sometimes overly dramatic, internal dialogue.

Though Maya/Jiva is the main character in the novel and the central focus of desire and contempt for most of the story, it is the character of Sandeep who redeems my faith in inclusion, hope, and integrity.

The political, religious, and racial subject matter is a serious one, but the context of love and adventure for two people who collide from two dark histories and differing cultures, speaks to the possibility of change and the sentimental idealism of youth.

Young readers, add this book to your collection. The cover design is as pretty as its language and as romantic as its sonatas and diary-form poems. ( )
  ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez | Jun 6, 2017 |
I haven't read a novel told in verse for so long, this came as a pleasant surprise, not what I expected but I'm enjoying it so far. I imagine Dev Patel as Sandeep and Freida Pinto as Maya.

Māyā means illusion or more accurately a delusion. Though given two names as a daughter for two parents from different religions, she always favored the name her Hindu mother has given her "Maya". Her Sikh name given by her father is "Jiva" which means soul.

Maya is a Canadian, with an Indian family, a Hindu mother who commits suicide because she misses India and a father who plucks her from all that is a familiar and thrusts her into a 1984 war between Sikh and Hindus where she is orphaned and lost.

Sandeep is a desert boy, the moment he sees the silent sad Maya knows that she is his mirage.

The story is filled with love, hate, hope, despair, courage and weakness, grief and happiness. But the ending is bittersweet yet filled with hope. ( )
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
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In 1984, following her mother's suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel to New Delhi from Canada to place her mother's ashes in their final resting place. On the night of their arrival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, Maya and her father are separated when the city erupts in chaos, and Maya must rely on Sandeep, a boy she has just met, for survival.

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