From the book blurb
When Arya Fell Through the Fault is the magical, coming-of-age tale of Arya, a 12-year-old boy from San Francisco, who is ridiculed by bullies. Anything to do with his ethnicity—food, traditions or the fascinating mythological stories he has been raised with, has become the building block of unpleasant school experiences. In the wake of an accident that confines his once vibrant mother to a hospital ward—kept alive by tubes and machines—Arya clings to the only remnant of their bond: an old, battered copy of the Ramayana, India’s ancient epic story of Rama’s battle against demons. One night, Arya falls through a fault in the earth into the Wild Woods, where Ravana—the demon king—strategises to destroy his Ramayana—the last copy left—and threatens to rewrite history from his evil perspective. Will Arya be able to save the story of Rama, heal his mother and return home to tackle the demons in his ordinary world?
Reenita Malhotra Hora is an award-winning broadcast journalist, Ayurveda clinician and author of books on Ayurveda and finance. Her debut fiction novel, Operation Mom: How I Got My Mother a Life and Man has been recognized as a must-read young adult book written by an Indian author.
When Arya Fell Through the Fault is her second release. Reenita anchors Hong Kong’s popular morning finance programme, Money for Nothing on RTHK Radio 3. Her weekend storytelling show, Asian Threads has won her a gold trophy at the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards.
Native to Mumbai, she currently lives with her family in Hong Kong.
Arya, the protagonist, is in his early teens. He lives is in an Indian, brought up in San Fracisco. He studies in a school where he is the only Indian. He faces racial remarks and is always teased for the kind of food he eats. He goes through identity crisis as he struggles to lives up to the cultural values imbibed by his mother through the glorious stories of Ramayana and with the way-of-life he is exposed to at school.
Arya’s mother, an Ayurveda doctor, carries Indian values at heart and tries her best to retain as an Indian in the truest spirit. The stories of Ramayana and the evils of Ravana acts as a bridge that connects her with her son.
Arya’s father, a taxi driver, has only one goal in his life – to provide the best for his son. He works day and night and tries to make his son’s dreams come true.
What I think
To begin with, the cover page is funky and vibrant at the same time. It has a boy who is caught between Lord Rama and the scary Ravana surrounded with things that is dear to him. The title is a little long, yet apt considering the plot. The book blurb is brief and would surely grab your attention.
It is a really small book that would demand not more than a couple of hours of your time. The narrative is simple and lucid that you may as well finish reading it in one go.
As the blurb suggests, the story is all about what happens when Arya falls through the fault. Although the book can slip into fantasy genre, it is can also be called as a book with a message - A message that comes as the solution to tackle mundane problems that one face in life. This story also relates to how Arya grows up, how he evolves from being a child cocooned within the shelters of his family to how he shapes into a careless teenager and finally, how he transforms into a responsible as well as understanding young boy.
In short, this is a book that reemphasizes that Ramayana is still valid…. That we can let ourselves become Rama or Ravana in life – a choice available to all... That we all fight Ravana – hurdles – in life... And life is all about conquering the Ravana (hurdles) that we come across in day-to-day life triumphantly.
Should you read it?
These days we find less books that can also be enjoyed by children. This is one such rare book that can be read by children, young adults and adults equally.
PS: This Review was originally published in Tales Pensive