August 31, 2010

The Conch Bearer - by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Anand's father has disappeared, his little sister hasn't spoken a word in months, his mother is overworked and miserable, and he is stuck working for a nasty, cruel tea seller in his town of Kolkata, India.  When an old man appears one day and mysteriously asks Anand to leave his family behind to help transport a magical conch shell back to a distant valley to save it from an evil man with powerful harmful magic, the story really begins.  This is the tale of Anand's journey through modern India, battling dark magic and trying to stay strong in the face of powerful temptations.  It is a journey not only to save the conch, but to find out what's most important to Anand, and to help him find himself.

How could I have overlooked this book for so long? It's a beautiful story, an epic, magical tale in a medium-sized book.  Magic is central to the book, but doesn't take over the story.  Readers will love all the action and adventure, but also the chance to feel what Anand feels as he makes the most difficult decision of his life.  This book will leave you wanting more.

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