Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Age of Shiva” as Want to Read:
The Age of Shiva
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Age of Shiva

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,259 ratings  ·  212 reviews
A sweeping epic that follows the fortunes of one family and the fortunes of India in the violent aftermath of Partition, 'The Age of Shiva' is the powerful story of a country in turmoil and an extraordinary portrait of maternal love.
Unknown Binding, 560 pages
Published by Not Avail (first published January 1st 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Age of Shiva, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Age of Shiva

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,355)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
eh. i was hoping to really love this, since i loved his first book so much. i dont know who gave him the go-ahead to write a book about the pitfalls and heights of motherhood, complete with some ick, but there it is, in all its unevenness. and its just hard to root for a "strong female character", who isnt strong at all, and is kind of a dick. again - a book i had to have right away so bought in hardcover, and didnt read until the paperback had been out for months... someone has to stop me, plea ...more
First things first. I think Manil Suri has a tremendous flair for creating drama and an astonishing ability of penetrating into human psyche. Which means, at certain points, The Age of Shiva touches the brilliance of V S Naipaul's A Home For Mr Biswas in portraying human despair and chaotic family life with all its colourful and despicable characters.

The author's biggest strength lies in creating interesting set pieces and keeping the narrative moving at a frenzied, rapid-fire pace. The languag
Neeraja S
The Age of Shiva follows the life of Meera through her marriage to Dev, a talented musician struggling to make a living, and through the various divergences in her destiny as she aimlessly plods though her disappointments, clinging to her son as the only reason for her existence, till she finds her foothold and purpose in life. The story unfolds right after the partition between India and Pakistan, when the tension between Hindus and Muslims heightened and gave birth to the Hindu fundamentalists ...more
I am guilty of not reading enough books by Indian authors. I am ignorant of the new authors entering the world and the new books released by veteran authors and I would feel a pang of guilt for not making an attempt to keep in touch with my own country’s literary world. To rectify this, I picked up The Age of Shiva. I had read interesting reviews of Suri’s debut book The Death of Vishnu and since this book was not available, I picked up the next available option.

The book opens with a vivid descr
Pooja T

I picked this book up because I was in the mood for a family saga type of story, something that spans decades and crosses generations of a family. This book based in post-partition India seemed perfect and in many ways it was. It is a family saga that follows a family and it's complicated and largely unhappy members for some 25 years. The central character Meera meets Dev in the beginning of the book and wants to get him at all costs. But once she does get her wish ,life isn't nearly as peachy
So I have had this book on my TBR stack for quite some time (2008). I loved The Death of Vishnu. Every time I picked up The Age of Shiva I checked the reviews on Goodreads. Avg review of 320 which surprised me, so I put it back on my TBR stack. I guess I have to take all reviews with a grain of salt, because I loved this book! Moral of the story: Reviews are great but go with your instinct in the end.

If you are a reader of Indian Fiction I highly recommend this one. If you loved The Death of Vi
I really wanted to like this book and was really looking forward to reading it. It started off much better than it ended. About 3/4's of the way through, I found myself skimming the pages just so I could get through it. Meera's narrative got to be quite boring and the story just took a rather sad and unfortunate turn. Her thoughts of her son became too weird and I don't feel like Suri really did a great job of developing where those thoughts were coming from...I mean, I get it, she was lacking s ...more
I did not finish this. I got almost half way through. Though the author's writing is beautiful, lyrical, and he really knows how to write from a woman's point of view, I could not do it. If I had all the time in the world to read any book, i would have. However, the main character made too many horrible choices that made her life more and more depressing and I could not understand her reasons or motivations in doing so. So the story kept getting more and more tense, and not in a good, page-turni ...more
Leora Bersohn
This lyrical, sometimes vexing novel takes us through the life of an Indian woman from her late teens through to middle age, covering 1955 through roughly 1985. Those are momentous years for India, but Meera's life is forever constricted by her roles of daughter, wife, and mother, so not nearly as much changes for her as one would think. Dominated by her cultured, secular father, burdened by her frivolous, alcoholic husband, alarmed by her sexually aggressive Hindu nationalist brother-in-law, an ...more
Ankur Beohar
Manil is a mathematician, and that makes him good at playing around with the plot. But I saw no such maneuvering in The Age of Shiva, He's ruthless at times, but is sensitive to the core. He brings order where seems to be none. He follows life, as reality does. I would recommend for anyone who cannot comprehend the idea that a few pages could envelope complete life in them. It's a saga of loss, but has been paced to make it acceptable. One of my most favourite books.
Plenty of drama in this novel which traces the growth of modern India in the Nehru-Indira years. Narrated by Meera, a woman who appears to not have a single healthy and happy relationship in the first 30 years of Indian independence. Instead Suri throws her into violent relationships, manipulative relationships, failed, tragic relationships and one that just borders on yucky.

The best part for me were the detailed descriptions of Delhi, and then Mumbai, as my grandparents and parents must have ex
Shuba Krishnan
This was my first time reading Manil Suri, and i did not know about his highly acclaimed The Death of Vishnu, before i started reading The Age of Shiva. So in that sense my expectations were limited. For me, the most intriguing thing about this novel was its handling of the physical aspects of relationships- esp. those that are not set in the common man-woman-lovers turf. The struggles of the female protagonists against the men in her life, and her efforts to live her life on her own terms, tryi ...more
The Death of Vishnu was a very good book, and I was eager to read The age of shiva. This second novel felt less believable and less immediate; even though the story was certainly compelling, the narrow focus on a single point of view didn't work for me.
Like others, I really wanted to like this book. I loved Death of Vishnu and City of Devi, and when I started Age of Shiva I thought I would like this one best of all. The writing is vivid and immediate and the story is psychologically charged. But it was really hard to connect with the characters. I think I understand that a Shivaite story must explore the creative power of destruction -- and there is a lot of destruction here, of a nation, of a family, and of a self -- but I don't think I under ...more
I was disappointed to find that this book is not nearly as engrossing as The Death of Vishnu, by the same author, which I really loved for the complex interactions among the vividly drawn residents of a small apartment building. Shiva focuses almost solely on one unhappy woman, Meera, and her disturbing relationships with her husband, son, father, brother-in-law. A few female friends and relatives appear, especially her sister and sister-in-law, but the energy of the storyline is Meera's push-pu ...more
Interesting details of life in India, post independence through the 1970's. A woman is unhappy under her father and then her husband. Fighting back the only way I suppose she can by undermining him with her sarcasm and anger.

There is so much dysfunction and immaturity with these people. The story centers around Meera's desire to fulfill her life through her son, Ashvin.

I learned many fascinating customs such as the mundan where the child's head is shaved, bringing good fortune. "The hair a child
Sherilyn Lipke
Ok. So I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the story, the characters, even some of the political mumbo-jumbo of it. I loved the questions that Meera brings forth and I love how the story is told to her son, Ashvin. The development is beautiful and the way the story jumps around is engaging. This book kept me in the story, even though it took me FOREVER to read. And then THAT ENDING!!@!1!!!!!
Ohhhhhhhh myyyyyyyyyyy gooooooooooooooooooosh.
So I felt the resolution coming, I felt the peacefulness i
I didn't know what to expect when I choose this book but when I saw a review on in from Rakestraw Books I thought I would give it a try since they liked it so much. To start with I had just read a depressing book prior to "The Age of Shiva" and did not expect another downer book. So my advice is DON"T read two depressing books back to back.
"The Age of Shiva" starts off so beautifully. As the story unfolds though there is so much unhappiness due to how little women were respected by their Hindi
Pam Geemul
An insight is given into the post partition period in India, an era which I was not totally unaware of, but rather was not sensitive about. What first struck me in the book was Meera’s father and his attitude towards life. He did not want his daughters to be tied down to marital obligations and he wanted them to gain their own independence before anything else, meaning that he encouraged his daughters to pursue further studies so as to eventually get a job which would have them being financially ...more
This is one of those kinds of books that I generally run from. Yet for some reason, in spite of the overall lower reviews/ratings, I was drawn to it. It seems from reading some of the other reviews this is a book much better listened to. The narrative of the book was well done. I enjoyed the accent and inflections of the narrator. In addition to enjoying listening to the book, the story was one that really made me think. I have spent alot of time processing the book and Meeras life.

The story is
I was looking forward to reading this book. I thought that The Death of Vishnu was a remarkable and moving novel. But I was very disappointed in The Age of Shiva. The main character was unconvincing and unlikeable; it was never clear what motivated her, and there seemed to be no development or particular change in her character over the course of major events in her life. The character was mostly about defying her father and her husband, but in a petty and self-destructive fashion, and she never ...more
P.C. Zick
The Age of Shiva by Manil Suri sat on my bookshelves for five years. I bought it at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, in 2008. I picked up The Age of Shiva a few weeks ago, and it’s opening page lured me in despite my uneasy feeling when I realized the very sensuous description of a woman being fondled was actually the narrator Meera describing to “you” how it felt to breastfeed “you” as a tiny baby.

Written in first person, Meera is describing her life of sacrifice in India during the dec
Jm Embate
Manil Suri's debut novel, The Death of Vishnu, is an enthralling best seller. Mixed with vibrant Hindu myths and mysticisms, the novel was a real page turner and beautifully asphyxiating. It was, however, a little disappointing that I was not as enamored in his second novel, The Age of Shiva, as I was on his first one.

The Age of Shiva tells the story of Meera who has always felt that she is second best. This led to a series of wrong decisions that defined who she was: being married to an aspiri
Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed
I was disappointed by The Age of Shiva after loving The Death of Vishnu. I frequently got the feeling that the author had to meet a word count target and was dropping in filler material, including distracting and irrelevant sub-plots at frequent intervals. I felt that Suri did not create a likable, well-rounded character in Meera, the protagonist. She was petty, stubborn and stunted: making decisions like a rebellious teenager at every turn, well into adulthood. The story is told in first-person ...more
Vinod Peris
Before I write about the book, I have to disclose how fascinated I am with the fact that Manil Suri is a professor of Mathematics in University of Maryland Baltimore County. For someone whose primary occupation is teaching Mathematics and who probably didn't have the luxury of a very strong early education in English Writing and Literature, he tells really good stories remarkably well. This book is no exception and is set against the backdrop of India's Independence from the British and the part ...more
- mother/son relationship was at times disturbing and shocking
- i liked the lyricism but sometimes the details were a bit too much, especially when it came to the mother/son stuff
- very believable characterization of a female from a male author
- couldn't quite follow all the hindu stories and myths and i got lost by the ending. does that mean mother and son were finally one?
-- esv, 11/14/08

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
Unsympathetic Narrator, February 14, 2008
I loved "Death of Vishnu," and was eager to continue reading Suri's work, but this book was a terrible disappointment. The narrator/main character was no more than a pair of eye-holes through which to view India's recent history. She had no presence, no growth or change through the course of the story, nothing but resentment, lust, and destructive maternal possessiveness to fuel her.

I'm especially sensitive to male authors trying to render female voices, and I think this was a terrible failure.
Very titillating opening chapter. We'll see how the rest of the novel proceeds.
I realize I have spent more time processing this story than I spent reading it. I find, as I've moved on to other books, that Meera and her history have left a residue on my mind. Ultimately, what started as an intriguing beginning became a hopeful and disturbing sequence of events. Perhaps despair is a theme throughout Meera's life. Regardless, The Age of Shiva left me with some questions. One of the most be
I had read Manil Suri's Death of Vishnu in December'05 and even then I was so intrigued the way he cultures his characters. But this book - I was not impressed by anyone - I was so wrapped in the life of Meera - (The protagonist) - playing the role of mother, daughter, lover, sister, etc and each role making his life so complicated and yet when she is finally got rid of all the relationships - she feels empty.

The book has 5 chapters - each chapter makes Meera die and then reborn like a phoenix -
May 28, 2008 Karen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dedicated readers of South Asian fiction
Recommended to Karen by: received a free copy at ALA Midwinter 2008
Shelves: south-asian
As others have mentioned--the opening chapter of this book is sensuous, lush... Manil Suri can really, really write when he wants to. Throughout the book, however, the writing is uneven. Overall it was just fine, but I found myself wishing for more of that beautiful prose since I knew he could create it.

Meera, the heroine, is torn between the two cities in her life--Delhi and Bombay--and three men--her manipulative father, her sometimes artistic, sometimes abusive husband, and her son, for whom
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 78 79 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories
  • The Blue Bedspread
  • A River Sutra
  • In the Convent of Little Flowers
  • The Last Song of Dusk
  • Song of the Cuckoo Bird
  • Desirable Daughters
  • Haunting Bombay
  • A Married Woman
  • Red Earth and Pouring Rain
  • Bombay Time
  • An Atlas of Impossible Longing
  • The Hero's Walk
  • Serious Men
  • Bitter Sweets
  • Circumference of Darkness
  • Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script
  • India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking
Manil Suri is an Indian-American mathematician and writer, most notable for his first novel, The Death of Vishnu.

He attended the University of Bombay before moving to the United States, where he attended Carnegie Mellon University. He received a PHD in mathematics in 1983, and became a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

He still continues to hold this job even th
More about Manil Suri...
The Death of Vishnu The City of Devi Mother India

Share This Book