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The Folded Earth

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  805 ratings  ·  172 reviews


WITH HER DEBUT NOVEL, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, Anuradha Roy’s exquisite storytelling instantly won readers’ hearts around the world, and the novel was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and The Seattle Times.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Free Press (first published 2011)
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The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe White Tiger by Aravind AdigaMidnight's Children by Salman RushdieThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Indian Books
162nd out of 570 books — 1,643 voters
Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry PintoThe Song Seekers by Saswati SenguptaLeela's Book by Alice AlbiniaThe Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul BhattacharyaNarcopolis by Jeet Thayil
2013 DSC Prize Longlist
7th out of 14 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

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The Folded Earth is an elegiac and poetic story of love, loss, memories, and new beginnings. Set in Ranikhet, a little town in the Indian Himalaya, the story is sensitively, unsentimentally told. Lines flow like soothing music. Little wonder that this novel won the Hindu Literary Prize 2011 and made it to the Short List for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2011.

Maya, aged 25, lost her husband whom she had married against her family's wishes, in a mountaineering accident. She retreated to Ranikhet
Very quietly, Roy focuses on the remote corners of the heart and India. Sadness permeates the hamlet while nature's beauty encompasses it.

This quote, late in the book, exemplifies Roy's prowess and provides a window into the story as well:

"In winter, the air is clear enough to drink, and your eyes can travel many hundreds of miles until they reach the green of the near hills, the blue-gray beyond them, and then the snow peaks far away, which rise in the sky with the sun, and remain suspended th
The first 100 or so pages of this started out as strong as An Atlas of Impossible Longing, which I absolutely loved reading last year. I remember now why I love Anuradha Roy's writing so much - it comes off as enchanting and magical, and she says everything so eloquently and with occasional large words. I love how she interworks details from Indian history, archaeology, and culture with the main point of the story. But, unfortunately, I did not think that this book was anywhere near as fantastic ...more
When Maya, a young Hindu woman, marries Michael, a Christian who her father disapproves of, her relationship with her family is severed. Michael was a professional photographer who claimed the mountains were in his blood, and his love for the mountains were as deep as the love he had for his wife. However just six years into their marriage, Michael dies in a mountaineering accident, and Maya finds herself all alone.

She decides to move to Ranikhet a village high in the mountains, the place her hu
Mark Staniforth
It takes a special writer to fashion something out of the ordinary from such a conventional subject: in this case, the much-plundered, Kipling-esque tale of rural India's struggle to shake off the remnants of the Raj and embrace an uneasy new political and religious future.
Anuradha Roy, however, has lifted 'The Folded Earth' far above the dangers of cliche, both with the shimmering beauty of her prose and the effortless manner in which she unfurls a tale rich in warmth and humour, yet never stra
Chad Walker
It's really, really beautiful writing. Roy creates a kind of hypnotic, dream-like state with her descriptions: for example, I remember a passage (I think around p. 150), where she describes the monsoon season in this hill town in such evocative, original language I had to read it three times. And that seems to be how Roy works: despite jumps in chronology or point of view, her very consistent, very poetic voice stitches together those pieces into a long-frame continuity. And it is a very touchin ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maya is a city girl, married to a man with a passion for mountain climbing. When he dies on an ill-fated trip, she leaves Bangalore and takes up a job as a teacher in the village of Ranikhet, near where the accident occurred. The Folded Earth, which Maya narrates, tells of how she finds her place within the small community, and learns to move on from her husband's death.
I enjoyed this book for most of its length. Maya could easily have been a 'doctor/policewoman/vet' from London moving to a rem
Book Him Danno
This book started out with a good flow but about the half-way point it slowed down. I had to push through the pages to pick the story up again and with that the flow increased. The lives of the people living in this remote area of India were interesting and diverse. The sadness and loss I felt in the beginning returned at the end. Such heartbreak and despair for one person seems unbearable.

The relationships Maya experienced in her life were varied and yet each left its mark on her personality a
I was prepared to love this book--I was blown away by her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing--but I couldn't. It is, however, a good story and a lovely read. The writing is beautiful, especially her descriptions of the environment--the novel is in a sense a love letter to the Himalayan foothills where she lives. I also wonder if the author was aiming this book at a more Western audience than the first. It is a much more straightforward story and probably more accessible to those who kn ...more
Beautiful, beautiful. It's Maya's (quiet but gripping) personal story, but it's also the story of the north India town, Ranikhet, where she goes to make a new life after her young husband's untimely death. The author lives in Ranikhet & says (in an interview at the end of the book) that in the novel, & the map at the front of the book, which she has drawn herself, it is fictionalized. The textures, sounds, topography, sky, plants, & animals of the place--as well as the human resident ...more
Nesa Sivagnanam
In marrying a Christian, the narrator, Maya, has become estranged from her wealthy family in Hyderabad. But after six happy years together, her husband has died in a mountaineering accident. Rather than return to her parents, she seeks refuge in Ranikhet, a town that looks toward the mountains that so entranced her husband. Overcome with grief, she stows away his backpack, recovered from the scene of the accident, and refuses to inspect its contents. She can’t bear to know the details surroundin ...more
This was such a pleasant surprise - Roy is a wonderful writer and I am ready to move to Ranikhet, a fictionalized version of where the author lives - it reminded me of Narayan's Malgudi. a kind of down-to-earth scale and while there is politics and danger and modern technology, there is also a kind of good-tempered contentment and humanity. There is a plot here but I found it less interesting than the creation of place and character.

Also, one of my favorite Bollywood songs - Dum Maro Dum - is a
Kitty Bullard
Book Title: "The Folded Earth”
Author: Anuradah Roy
Published By: Free Press
Age Recommended: 18+
Reviewed By: Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating: 5

Review: Maya has moved to the foothills of the Himalaya’s to find peace and serenity. She soon realizes that to keep what she has found, she’ll have to fight. If Maya can’t save her sanctuary, she may find her peace shattered and end up tossed back into the old life she escaped.
This book has it all, drama, suspense, romance, and excitement. This is a beautiful s
I would not have ended a story the way the author, Anuradha Roy, did in this one, too much like a Greek tragedy. But the depictions of Himalayan mountain life and nature are interesting and patch together a well-developed theme in this work. The attempt to give voice to a number of characters, some more forgettable than others, may have proved to be too ambitious for Roy, but there are some moments of brilliance in her writing. I give her brownie points for originality and a (somewhat predictabl ...more
Tayyba Kanwal
A Himalayan estate and a handful of colorful characters do not a good novel make--by themselves, that is. If I had absolutely nothing else to do, I might have waded to the end of this book. But scenes just for the sake having them, and a first person narrative that bizarrely manages to get into the inner world of other characters seriously weigh down one's patience. This book has the meat, but not the bones. So reading it was like prodding around folds of flesh to see if one can find some struct ...more
The folded Earth was well-written, it showed a mastery of language, there were brilliant, beautiful sentences and thoughts, but in the end, it was disconnected and flat. And most of all, it has been done before; because this is what most Indian English literature sounds like, there is an ancient relic - a man - from the colonial times, somebody living in wisps of memories from the times of the kings, a heroine who exiled herself after tragedy, a self-important yet vile bureaucrat, the mountain l ...more
I enjoyed this book. This was not necessarily a page turner, and I did not close the book thinking WoW! that was great, but I did enjoy the story and the surprise ending. Author writes with alot of description, which I can take or leave.
I'm not going to lie, this took me way longer than it should and I'm not particularly crazy about the plot but I do think that there were a lot of "what a beautiful and wicked way of portraying that" moments which are pretty memorable. The book holds words spun together in an articulate and sophisticated way but it's not readily relatable to me, hence the three-stars.

P.S. It gives me hope for untainted and relentless youthful love nonetheless and the ending chapters turned out to be an unexpect
"Ferns fountain from rock faces..." (16).
"It was this solitary drinking that gave me the deepest satisfaction, as if it were an affirmation that my time was my own at last, after a whole day's effort with other people. It pleased me that if anyone--other than Diwan Sahib, who supplied me with the rum--had known that I drank alone, I would have been labeled a 'Bad Woman.' This thought alone was usually enough to restore me to tranquility" (28-29).
"...and below them were terraced slopes that in th
This book is a bit more intense and haunting than An Atlas of Impossible Longing. Roy is just so talented. Even though I did not necessarily identify with Maya, the narrator, I nevertheless was emotionally stirred by the novel's bittersweet ending. It reminded me of the way I felt when I finished The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow.

Although the plot was much less engaging than her in first book, Roy's writing is what makes it great. Her lyricism, word choice and ease with metaphor ma
I'd first like to direct you to the beautiful cover! Doesn't that cover just draw you in? Make you feel as if something beautiful is waiting within? An awesome cover has me from the word go.

I found this book to be both beautiful, engaging, and frustrating all at the same time. The book is broken up into two parts. Part One just seemed to lay the groundwork for Part Two. Part One was very hard for me to get involved in. Part Two was very engaging. I fell in love with many of the local village cha
Hilary G
Having read, and enjoyed, Anuradha Roy's first book, I was looking forward to reading this one, and I was not disappointed. I thought The Folded Earth was even better than An Atlas of Impossible Longing, and that Anuradha Roy is growing in confidence as a writer. Hopefully, we can look forward to much more from her.

The Folded Earth covers similar ground to the previous book, but in a totally different location. Place is a very important concept in A. Roy's books and her descriptions are marvello
Val Wilkerson
The setting takes place in the town of Ranikhet in the Himalayan foothills. The descriptions of the area are really lovely. Maya, the main character has come to the isolated village to recover
from the unexpected death of her husband, who died on a hike. Some of her characters are "hill people" who are uneducated but seem to have an uncanny ability to blend with the nature and the animals of the area. Some of the other characters are very educated. Its interesting to watch
the way the educated and
Anuradha paints a beautiful picture of a peaceful hill station with her eloquent use of words. On one hand we have a woman nursing her past and on the other we have a pretty girl experiencing the sweet joy of love for the first time. Complete with a pompous old timer from pre-independence India era ,a lunatic who only talks to animals, a determined Colonel and a dashing mysterious mountaineer.The novel is not only a visual delight of words but also a feast to the literary nature of a person. A m ...more
This gently-written novel is set in the Himalayas, and it invokes the place beautifully. It’s the story of Maya, a young widow who runs away from everyone and everything she knows, and makes a new life for herself in a mountain village. It starts out slowly, as she deals with her grief and gets to know the people around her. The reader is drawn into their stories, especially that of Charu, the young cowherd who learns to read in order to read her lover’s letters, and Diwan Sahib, an old man of t ...more
Jennifer Decker
The Folded Earth is the story of a woman named Maya who suffers at the outset of the novel the insufferable loss of her husband and soulmate Michael in a tragic Himalayan trekking accident. Maya’s life is shattered by Michael’s untimely and unanticipated death. Determined to understand the circumstance of Michael’s death to both remember him and seek closure, Maya leaves their home, her corporate job, and her native Hyderabad to resettle in the sleepy village of Ranikhet in the foothills of the ...more
Wendy Hines
First, this is the first time I have had the pleasure to read Anuradha Roy's works, so I have no comparison to the great reviews from her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing. That being said, it won't be the last thing I read of hers either. The Folded Earth is rich in history, lyrical writing, and simply entrancing. However, it is very slow to start and the reader must become invested in the tale or they won't be interested in finishing it. I thought it was very easy to put down but I k ...more
• The strength of this book is its language and descriptions – how the author uses phrases was what settled me into this book.
• The author did a very good job of making me feel I was right there in the village/town with the characters and their daily lives
• Interesting cast of characters – but does subtly explore the caste, class, gender, religious differences and also showed how the characters were bound together despite these differences.
• The locale was a hill station – and enjoyed how it wa
In The Folded Earth, Anuradha Roy tells a tale about a woman named Maya on a journey in overcoming a personal loss, her growing attachment to her new home, and the love she develops for people who belong to it.

At times, I could almost feel it, but for the most part, the story was just stagnant.

Roy paints a quiet, magnificent picture of the village of Ranikhet against the backdrop of the Himalayas with the wonderful way she strings her words. I found myself drawn to the setting but not to the cha
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Anuradha Roy was educated in Hyderabad, Calcutta and Cambridge (UK). She is an editor at Permanent Black, an independent press publishing in South Asian history, politics and culture. She lives mainly in Ranikhet, India, with her husband Rukun Advani and their dog, Biscoot.
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“The ocean exerts an inexorable pull over sea people wherever they are-in a bright-lit, inland city or the dead center of a desert-and when they feel the tug there is no choice but somehow to reach it and stand at its immense, earth-dissolving edge, straightaway calmed.” 10 likes
“Until humans came and made anthills out of these mountains, Diwan Sahib was saying, looking up at the langurs, the land had belonged to these monkeys, and to barking deer, nilgai, tiger, barasingha, leopards, jackals, the great horned owl, and even to cheetahs and lions. The archaeology of the wilderness consisted of these lost animals, not of ruined walls, terracotta amulets, and potsherds.” 4 likes
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