The love triangle plot, a beautiful woman torn between a predictable, safe suitor and an alluring "bad boy", is probably as old as stories themselves. Such a love triangle is at the center of Mandanna's novel, but although her expansive plot centers on a potentially shopworn conflict, this talented debut novelist continually defies expectations and enriches context to create a powerful story that seems both fresh and timeless.
For one thing, Mandanna skillfully arouses sympathy not only for Devi, the lovely young woman at the triangle's apex, but also for her lovers, the tiger hunter Machu and, particularly, the quietly thoughtful Devanna. Devanna, a shy boy, brought under the wing of a German missionary with complicated motives, finds himself terrorized at medical college, surviving only by virtue of his devotion to his studies and his abiding love for his childhood...
Beyond the Book
"Dizzying" and "glorious" are the words Sarita Mandanna first uses to describe the Indian district that is her birthplace and the setting for Tiger Hills
. Now known primarily as Kodagu rather than the anglicized name, "Coorg," used in the novel, the district has long been known, as Mandanna notes, as "The Scotland of India" by the many white inhabitants who have come to the area since the early nineteenth century, in large part to profit from its wealth of natural resources.
The Kodagu District's official website dubs the region "The Land of Coffee, Pepper, Honey, Cardamom, and Oranges." Teak,...