Monday 20 December 2010

The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha

Finished December 18
The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha by Andrea Gunraj
This novel by Guyanese-Canadian author Andrea Gunraj follows brother and sister, Navi and Neela, as they move from childhood to adulthood. The novel begins at a dramatic point, the disappearance of Neela's daughter Seetha. We then move back to the childhood of Neela and Navi. They are raised by their maternal grandmother as their mother has gone to work as a nanny overseas. There is a stigma to them as their parents were not married, and Neela is constantly warned against making the same mistakes as her mother.
Navi does well at academics and is doted on by the whole community, causing jealousy between the siblings. His aim in life is to escape to a life far from his village and do well. Neetha is the rebel and she falls for a young brute Jaroon, who persuades her to go to Eden, a new eco-resort that is being built in the wilderness. Neetha abandons her half-hearted education as a teacher to go to this new development, but soons finds that it is not what she expected. Life in Eden offers her opportunities as well as limitations, but she soons fears for the safety of herself and her child and flees.
Navi, meanwhile has done well for himself following a scholarship overseas with a promising career in business. But the events surrounding Neetha cause the two siblings to come back together to find a way forward with meaning for both of them.
We see this story from alternating points of view, following each sibling as they grow. We see their relationships, disappointments, and realizations. I found it very interesting to see the character growth here, as well as being drawn in to the story itself. A great read from a promising new author.

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