Additional Book Information
Series: The New York Review Children's Collection
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
The Village by the Sea
by Anita Desai
Anita Desai’s The Village by the Sea is an exciting and moving story about life in an Indian coastal village and life in the unimaginably big city of Bombay. It is the story of thirteen-year-old Lila and her twelve-year-old brother, Hari. As the book begins, Lila is wading into the sea to bring scarlet hibiscus, sweet-smelling lilies, and butter-yellow allamanda flowers to the sacred rock the fishermen’s wives pray to, just as her mother did before her father had to sell his boat to pay his debts and her mother fell ill. Now Lila and Hari must care for their ailing parents as well as their two younger sisters. Sensing adventure and a chance to save his family, and possibly his village, Hari impulsively joins a group of farmers and fishermen traveling to Bombay to protest the construction of a fertilizer factory that threatens to pollute the coastline and destroy their livelihood. Will the protest succeed? Can Hari survive in the city, and can Lila manage at home without him? Through their own resources, and the kindnesses of strangers, Hari and Lila must find a way to “Adapt! Adapt!” as their ornithologist friend urges, just as the birds and animals must do to survive.
Desai’s story-telling skill is as keen as ever, her evocation of Hari is…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…. Village is a stylistic triumph that matches the victory of a boy and a girl whose grit pulled them through.
A very powerful story that fully deserves its place as a modern classic.
—Andrea Reece, LoveReading4Kids (blog)