By Rajni Mala Khelawan
A striking new literary voice tells the story of a young Indian woman coming of age in the Fiji islands whose traditional childhood both enriches and nearly destroys her
"My mother once said that everyone in this world is granted one beginning and one ending. Life is made up of what is in between: the connections, the discoveries, the triumphs, and the losses."
Growing up in the Fiji Islands in the late 1960s, Kalyana Mani Seth is an impressionable, plump young girl suited to the meaning of her name: blissful, blessed, the auspicious one. Her mother educates Kalyana about her Indian heritage, vividly telling tales of mischievous Krishna and powerful Mother Kali, and recounting her grandparents’ migration to the tiny, British colony.
While the island nation celebrates its recently granted independence, new stories of the feminist revolution in America are carried over the waves of the Pacific to Kalyana’s ears: stories of women who live with men who are not their husbands, who burn their bras, who are free to do as they please. Strange as all this sounds, Kalyana hopes that she will be blessed with a husband who allows her a similar sense of liberty.
But nothing prepares her for the trauma of womanhood and the cultural ramifications of silence and shame, as her mother tells her there are some family stories that should never be told.
About the Author
Rajni Mala Khelawan is an emerging Indo-Fijian Canadian writer. In addition to being a visiting writer at The University of the South Pacific, Fiji Islands in August 2011, Khelawan was profiled on hit TV and radio shows such as Bollywood Boulevard, CBC Radio, Omni South Asian News, Asian Magazine TV, and NUTV. Her first novel is The End of the Dark and Stormy Night. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
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Release: March 15, 2016
5.5 x 8.5
Praise for Kalyana
"Khelawan elegantly intertwines the effects of patriarchy, colonialism, slavery, and second-wave feminism in a story about a young woman losing and then finding her voice. Rich in detail and memory, the novel celebrates the power of storytelling as both formative and healing." - Publishers Weekly
"The novel soars when the female characters stop being complicit in matters of gender oppression and start speaking out—a powerful, urgent message, as always." - Herizons