Tiger Hills

From Catherine Given
author: Mandanna, Sarita
Tiger Hills
Though one might guess otherwise, the book Tiger Hills has nothing to do with a championship golf course.  Rather, it’s a classic saga, so richly spiced that reading it is like enjoying an authentic curry.  Here’s Sarita Mandanna’s winning recipe:  sift together the triumph over adversity of The Good Earth,  the fierce matriarchal determination of Gone with the Wind, and fold in a good measure of Out of Africa‘s coffee-infused life on the plantation.  Then bring the mix to a sizzle in the mountains and valleys of southern India for over a century.  Tiger Hills immerses us in actual life-and-death tiger hunts, as well as in ceremonial festivals, exotic botanical adventures, and the ancient culture’s birth and funeral rites. Mandanna’s vibrant characters may start out in India’s dozing tradition-bound country villages.  But as some members of the clan grow restless, they venture out into unknown territory, only to experience the perversities of life in British boarding school, the squalor of India’s jammed, polluted cities and, in the company of other social climbers, they learn how to behave in a more upper crust British way in the society clubs of the Indian outlands.  Through it all, parents keep secrets and hold grudges, siblings’ rivalries fester, lovers refuse to limit themselves to the partners their parents have chosen, and life gets very messy.  Despite soap opera elements, Tiger Hills is worth the investment, because its characters are well-drawn, its dialogue overall rings true, and intriguing settings are exquisitely described.

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