THE SILENT RAGA
Ameen Merchant was born in Bombay and raised in Madras. The Silent Raga is his first novel. He lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he is working on his next novel and programming a new Bollywood audio channel for the CBC.
A finely woven tale about the nuances of South India' — The Sunday Indian
A remarkable debut' - TimeOut
'The Silent Raga is a modern fairy tale about a young veena player'
—The Asian Age
'Merchant is a writer to watch out for' — Anita Nair in DNA 'Merchant's words verge on pure poetry as uniquely evocative of India as the sound of the santoor, the hammered dulcimer' - Canadian Immigrant
...a richly painted tale, revealing the caged heart of an artist who longs to soar on the power of her music... .This is a gem of a novel, filled with brilliant imagery and an elegant style of writing'
'...a moving tale of family, tradition, loss and reconciliation. In prose that resembles the rhythms of an Indian raga Ameen Merchant captures the world of these Brahmin women, a world restricted by caste and cultural rules, but also teeming with colour, music and food' — Delta Optimist A very aesthetic sense of writing'— CNN-IBN
the silent raga
HarperCollins Publishers India a joint venture with
THE INDIA TODAY GROUP
For Ma Parin And for Madras
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Four Quartets, T. S. ELIOT
A work of art is a corner of creation seen through a temperament. "Salon of I866," EMILE ZOLA
Where do middle-class, Tamil Brahmin girls go when they turn eighteen?
Meet Janaki Venkatakrishnan, a musical prodigy sublimely gifted on the veena, and her younger sister, Mallika.Janaki escapes her father's plan for an arranged marriage, fleeing her village home for the bright lights of Bombay, scandalizing her father and the chatterbox, gossip-mongering women of the neighbourhood.
She also leaves behind Mallika, who is forced to take care of their increasingly unhinged father. But ten years later, when Janaki announces her return and demands a meeting with Mallika, the buried past is once again excavated, and this time there is no escape from the old ghosts of loyalty and betrayal. In a span of seven days, memories and misgivings, innocence and wisdom, everyday truths and familial secrets are laid bare as the two sisters prepare to face each other and everything about their childhood once and for all.
In their shared memories, we meet Thathappa, their cinema-owner grandfather, a man of spiritual extremes; Gayatri Chitti, the girls' cosmetics-addict aunt, who is scheming to take their dead mother's place; Asgar, the Bollywood megastar, and Zubeida, his wheelchair-bound wife; Salima Sikri, a feminist editor, poised and ready for the scoop of the year...
The Silent Raga is a moving and ambitious debut novel. In prose that resembles the rhythms and progression of a raga, Ameen Merchant weaves a finely wrought story about the traditions that bind us and the sacrifices we must make along the road to our own individual destinies,lntensely imagined, the novel shines an honest and unsparing light on family matters, only to reveal the tug and pull of bloodlines and the infinite power of one healing word: Love.