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Read online or Download Cracking India (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by Bapsi Sidhwa

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Milkweed Editions
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Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years


The 1947 Partition of India is the backdrop for this powerful novel, narrated by a precocious child who describes the brutal transition with chilling veracity. Young Lenny Sethi is kept out of school because she suffers from polio. She spends her days with Ayah, her beautiful nanny, visiting with the large group of admirers that Ayah draws. It is in the company of these working class characters that Lenny learns about religious differences, religious intolerance, and the blossoming genocidal strife on the eve of Partition. As she matures, Lenny begins to identify the differences between the Hindus, Moslems, and Sikhs engaging in political arguments all around her. Lenny enjoys a happy, privileged life in Lahore, but the kidnapping of her beloved Ayah signals a dramatic change. Soon Lenny’s world erupts in religious, ethnic, and racial violence. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, the domestic drama serves as a microcosm for a profound political upheaval.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The narrator of Sidwha's ( The Bride ) timely novel about the violent 1947 partition of India is the extremely observant Lenny Sethi, whose family belongs to the Parsee community in Lahore. As a child, a polio victim and a member of a minority, she is the perfect witness (though somewhat precocious) to the historic upheaval. Sidwha tempers Lenny's hyper-awareness, however, by capturing the whole range of her fears and joys as her innocence becomes another casualty of the violence among Moslems, Sikhs and Hindus. At one point Lenny declares: ``Lying doesn't become me. I can't get away with the littlest thing.'' Persuasive, this statement reinforces earlier comments she lets slip about herself which display this artless candor: ``the manipulative power of my limp''; ``I place a hypocritical arm protectively round her shoulders.'' Lenny's honesty is compelling, and the reader, like many in the story, cannot help but trust her. She is alternately thrilled and frightened by the events she dutifully records, and so, in the end, is the reader. (Sept.)

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