Song of the Cuckoo Bird
By Amulya Malladi
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345483157, 400pp.)
Publication Date: December 27, 2005
A sweeping epic set in southern India, where a group of outcasts create a family while holding tight to their dreams.
Barely a month after she is promised in marriage, eleven-year-old orphan Kokila comes to Tella Meda, an ashram by the Bay of Bengal. Once there, she makes a courageous yet foolish choice that alters the fabric of her life: Instead of becoming a wife and mother, youthful passion drives Kokila to remain at the ashram.
Through the years, Kokila revisits her decision as she struggles to make her mark in a country where untethered souls like hers merely slip through the cracks. But standing by her conviction, she makes a home in Tella Meda alongside other strong yet deeply flawed women. Sometimes they are her friends, sometimes they are her enemies, but always they are her family.
Like Isabel Allende, Amulya Malladi crafts complex characters in deeply atmospheric settings that transport readers through different eras, locales, and sensibilities. Careening from the 1940s to the present day, Song of the Cuckoo Bird chronicles India’s tumultuous history as generations of a makeshift family seek comfort and joy in unlikely places–and from unlikely hearts.
Amulya Malladi has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in journalism. Born and raised in India, she lived in the United States for several years before moving to Denmark, where she now lives on the island of Mors with her husband and two sons. You can contact her at www.amulyamalladi.com.
“A sprawling, gorgeous intergenerational saga, in which the spice and savor of traditional India progresses painfully into the present–the changing of women’s lives and the dimunition of the man as household god. Told through the mysterious embroidery of one family’s tapestry–its life, loves, regrets, secrets, deaths, and even what comes after death–Song of the Cuckoo Bird is mesmerizing.”
–Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and The Breakdown Lane