Summary and book reviews of Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna

Tiger Hills

A Novel

by Sarita Mandanna

Tiger Hills
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2011, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2012, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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About this Book

Book Summary

Told in rich, lyrical prose and set against the background of a changing society, Tiger Hills is a sweeping saga about one woman's determination to live life on her own terms --- and a riveting novel about the choices we make in the name of family, nation, and love.

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.

Chapter 1
1878

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 mother’s 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 ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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 Members Only (495 words).

Media Reviews

The New York Times

Editors Choice. Time and again, Mandanna steers her novel in surprising directions. "Tiger Hills" explores the hazardous side of passion and the shackling grip of memory... An illuminating portrait of place...

Publishers Weekly

Mandanna's sweeping saga is ambitious, engaging, and relentlessly tragic.

Kirkus Reviews

Beautiful prose and delicate handling prevent this melodrama from becoming maudlin.

Booklist

Starred Review. Set in Southern India at the end of the nineteenth century, Mandanna's magnificent debut follows the fortunes of two childhood friends throughout their lives...It is impossible to stop reading Mandanna's spellbinding epic.

Library Journal

A great read that will have many points of discussion for any book group; highly recommended.

Easy Living (UK)

Sumptuously lyrical prose unfurls this utterly engrossing epic tale that'll seduce you from page one and hold you in its arms, breathless until the last word.

Daily Express (UK)

This book is a staggering achievement, especially as it's a first novel...Sarita is a major new talent.

The Independent (UK)

If the summer requires a must-read blockbuster, this debut should fill the beach-bag nicely.

Sunday Times (UK)

Tragic in parts but ultimately a beautifully written saga, this is the emergence of a major new talent.

Reader Reviews

Niki

Unique and fresh writing style
I liked this book mainly for the author's patience and narration style, so vividly explained and articulated, abrupt and unexpected twists also included frequently. Very good for a first time writer. Can compare to Jhumpa Lahiri's style of writing in...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Kodagu

"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.

View of KodaguThe 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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