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Amulya Malladi's, "A Breath of Fresh Air," brought laughter and tears. Based on the Bhopal gas tragedy in India, a real event which occurred in 1984 and killed 3,800 people and disabled thousands more, this fictional novel is a compelling story of one of its victims, Anjali, who learns that this single day in her past will direct the course of her future in ways she never could have imagined.
As a young Indian woman in a marriage arranged by her parents, Anjali is full of hope that her handsome army officer will grow to love her. She strives to earn her aloof husband's affection. When he fails to pick her up at the Bhopal railroad station one night, she becomes one of many people who must flee for their lives when there is a letal gas leak. Although she is a survivor of the tragedy, its consequences lead her to thwart conservative Indian tradition and seek the happiness she deserves. The reader joins courageous Anjali on an emotional roller coaster ride as she struggles with societal disapproval, marital insecurity and a child who is extremely ill. It is an unforgettable ride.
Malladi's characters are undeniably flawed human beings but her keen insight into the human spirit draws empathy for even the villainous Prakash. Each character pulls at the heart strings and the reader will feel they live next door. Be prepared to cry as you close the back cover. A wonderful read!
A Breath of Fresh Air is a book that I will highly recommend to anyone. It is quick and keeps the reader intrigued as the story unfolds. The characters are believable. I wish the story would continue. I want to know how each person deals with the tragedy of Amar.
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR is a wonderful debut novel. I was very impressed with this young woman's writing and her insight into loss and tragedy and love. With the backdrop of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Amulya Malladi tells the story of Anjali, a young woman married to an adulterer who finds the courage to divorce him and make a better life. It's a remarkable novel and shows India in a very real light. It depicts the taboo of divorce and second marriage very well. I was also taken with Amulya Malladi's description of the 1984 Indira Gandhi assassination riots. A very, very good first book. I read in an article on IndiaWest that Amulya Malladi's next book THE MANGO SEASON, will be released next year. It is supposed to be the story of a young woman who lives in the United States and goes back to her conservative South Indian family in India to tell them that she's in love and plans to marry an American. I look forward to it.
Davina - BookBrowse.com
A Breath of Fresh Air
is a wonderful novel - and an exceptional first novel. The terrible human tragedy of the 1984 gas leak from the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, that killed 4,000 people immediately and blinded or disabled many more thousands, provides the backdrop to Malladi's novel of one woman's struggle to make her way through life and the dying son she fears to lose.
(Incidentally, it's been almost 20 years since this accident and the death toll relating to the Union Carbide leak is now over 15,000, with up to 1/2 a million people suffering related disabilities).
For more about Bhopal visit http://www.bhopal.com/