By Mary Finn

Set in colonial India, this richly layered coming-of-age story follows a lively younger artist on a trip up the Ganges — and during the enigmas of her past.

How can Anila Tandy, left to fend for herself after her mother's demise, dare to use for a task that's truly no longer intended for a girl? yet by some means the "Bird lady of Calcutta," artwork offers in hand, reveals herself on an eye-opening trip up the Ganges, apprenticed to a gentleman scientist. because the lush panorama slips by means of, Anila dives into her previous — a previous the place her attractive Bengali mom nonetheless tells tales and her Irish father's mysterious disappearance lingers. Gorgeously written and wealthy with surroundings, Mary Finn's debut novel tells the tale of a decided younger artist who needs to make her method within the harmful global of late-eighteenth-century India.

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Having spent the night in a Portuguese inn, woven like an eagle's nest out of bamboos, and clinging to the almost vertical side of a rock, we rose at daybreak, and, having visited all the points de vue famed for their beauty, made our preparations to return to Narel. By daylight the panorama was still more splendid than by night; volumes would not suffice to describe it. Had it not been that on three sides the horizon was shut out by rugged ridges of mountain, the whole of the Deccan plateau would have appeared before our eyes.

Generally speaking, the position of a European archaeologist in India is very sad. The masses, drowned in superstition, are utterly unable to be of any use to him, and the learned Brahmans, initiated into the mysteries of secret libraries in pagodas, do all they can to prevent archeological research. However, after all that has happened, it would be unjust to blame the conduct of the Brahmans in these matters.

The basis of this hero's fame is the fact that he, the son of a poor officer in the service of a Mogul emperor, like another David, slew the Mussulman Goliath, the formidable Afzul Khan. It was not, however, with a sling that he killed him, he used in this combat the formidable Mahratti weapon, vaghnakh, consisting of five long steel nails, as sharp as needles, and very strong. This weapon is worn on the fingers, and wrestlers use it to tear each other's flesh like wild animals. The Deccan is full of legends about Sivaji, and even the English historians mention him with respect.

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