As the first girl to be born into the Nachimanda family in over thirty-five years, the beautiful Devi is the object of adoration of her entire family. Spirited and strong-willed, she befriends the shy Devanna, a young boy whose mother has died in tragic circumstances. Together they grow up amidst the luscious jungles, rolling hills, and coffee plantations of Coorg in Southern India; cocooned by an extended family whose roots to this beautiful land can be traced for centuries. Their futures seem inevitably linked, but everything changes when, one night, they attend a "tiger wedding." It is there that Devi gets her first glimpse of Machu, the celebrated tiger killer and a hunter of great repute. Although she is still a child and Machu is a man, Devi vows to marry him one day. It is this love that will gradually drive a wedge between Devi and Devanna, sowing the seed of a devastating tragedy that will change the fate of all three --- an event that has unforeseen and far-reaching consequences for generations to come.
Muthavva knew her seventh child was special, had known from the very day of her birth, the day of the herons. It was a clear day in July. With almost two months to go before the baby was due, and the sowing season upon them, Muthavva had put off leaving for her mothers home. She made her laborious way to the fields instead, and was standing ankle deep in the flooded flats when she heard a rustling. She looked up, shading her eyes against the sun and rubbing the small of her back. A flock of herons wheeled overhead. In itself, this was not unusual. There were herons to be seen in every field in Coorg, the flash of their wings startling against bright green paddy. But in all her years, Muthavva had never seen as many as were now slowly descending upon the flats. A hundred birds, maybe more, flying wingtip to wingtip, casting the sun-drenched fields into shadow. The fluttering of their feathers drowned out the croaking of frogs, the cawing of crows, even the ...
Propelled by romance, colored by loss, enriched by authentic details, Tiger Hills is both the saga of a people, and a land and the equally moving story of an inimitable woman and the two men who love her.
(Reviewed by Norah Piehl).
Full Review (827 words).
"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, tea, and rubber have also been cultivated in the area. Tucked between the mountains and the sea, composed of sunny hills and imposing forests, ...
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