Additional Book Information

Series: The New York Review Children's Collection
ISBN: 9781681373515
Pages: 272
Publication Date: April 16, 2019

The Village by the Sea

by Anita Desai


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Anita Desai’s The Village by the Sea is an exciting and moving story about life in a small Indian village and life in the unimaginably big city of Bombay. The main characters are thirteen-year-old Lila and Hari, her brother, who is a year younger. As the book begins, their life is one of almost unendurable hardship and sorrow. Their mother is sick and has to be looked after constantly. Their father is out of work, and all he does is drink. There are only the two kids to tend to their mother and restrain their father, and to try to find a little food for their parents and younger sister and themselves. Money ran out a long time ago, and their father isn’t someone to invite anyone’s goodwill. The task Lila and Hari face is not just unendurable; it is impossible.

Then Hari goes to Bombay. At first he is lost and scared, but before long he finds his footing and a way to make some money. Soon he has a plan and, together with Lila, he might be able to pull their family through to a new life.


Desai's story-telling skill is as keen as ever….[in] one of those rare tales that both children and adults can read and enjoy….Desai tells this story, a fairy-tale almost, in English that is lucid, and evocative of the hopes, the fears, the smells and the sounds of a little fishing village getting ready for greater things. The descriptions—of the hut, of birds, of a mongoose hunt, of the launching of a new boat, of a storm—are precise but never pedantic. Village is a stylistic triumph that matches the victory of a boy and a girl of whose grit pulled them through.
India Today

A very powerful story that fully deserves its place as a modern classic.
—Andrea Reece, LoveReading4Kids (blog)