I love debut novels. They capture the essence of a newbie writer on their literary journey. And if it’s an engaging novel, there’s nothing more I enjoy than going along for the ride. I was lucky enough to peruse an ARC (courtesy of Alma Books) of Dancing To The Flute, a tale of three friends whose lives invariably entwine over the course of their sometime turbulent lifetime.
I’ll dive straight in to what I loved about this book. The story’s main protagonist is Kalu, a street urchin with the wisdom of a hundred owls, whose plight we immediately feel thanks to Jolie Amin’s poetic prose. You cannot help but be pulled headlong into the story as we see Kalu suffer both the hardships and toils of life on the streets and on the flipside, experience the milk of human kindness in the godlike form of Vaid. Jolie Amin’s attention to detail is breathtaking, thus rendering Kalu’s sense of displacement as a heartrendingly palpable. His vulnerability bounces off the pages, and sometimes I felt I wanted to reach into the book and give him a big old hug. (If you’ve never wanted to hug a character in a book, what is wrong with you?)
From vivid characters that seem three dimensional the whole way through the book (Malti and Ganga Ba are stars in their own right), to an engaging and ultimately thought provoking narrative, this is one book you won’t want to miss. It is available now from Alma Books Ltd via this link.
Note about the author: Manisha Jolie Amin was born in Kenya and moved to Australia with her family when she was five. Sydney is her home, although she travels frequently to both India and England to visit family. Manisha lives with her husband, son and cat. Dancing to the Flute is her first novel.