A tale set in modern-day India

Shiva’s Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staplesshiva's fire cover

Copyright 2000, Farrar Straus Giroux

270 pages, YA fantasy

Parvati is born in Nandipurum, a remote village in the south of India. At the exact moment of her birth, monsoon rains create a devastating flood, and as the floodwaters recede, a cyclone takes all that is left. Parvati, her mother, and relatives join other refugees. While other survivors starve and take ill, Parvati and her mother stay healthy, and Parvati grows up strong. As a toddler, many miracles surrounding her occur, and Parvati is believed to have supernatural powers and a gift in dance.

One day a great master of Indian dance, Guru Pazhayanur Muthu Kumara Pillai, comes to Nandipurum to see Parvati for himself. Impressed by her natural skill, he invites her to come studyat his gurukulam and commit herslef completely to dance. Parvati accepts, and what follows is a magical journey of discovery and destiny.

The slow-moving action is irksome at times, but it leaves plenty of room for internal reflection and description. Interesting characters and a good message add to the richness of Staples’ novel. Referances to modern-day technology can spoil the mystical atmosphere of the story.

Rating: 3 stars

For more information visit http://suzannefisherstaples.com.

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One response to “A tale set in modern-day India

  1. I remember reading this book once, but I can’t quite remember what it was about! Did her father die from being trampled by an elephant? Maybe I’m thinking of something else…

    Allegra: Yes, Parvati’s father died after being trampled by an elephant. I believe it was spooked by the storm brought on by her birth.

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