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The Age of Shiva (The Hindu Gods #2)

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  1,587 Ratings  ·  242 Reviews
The Age of Shiva is at once a powerful story of a country in turmoil and an "unflinchingly honest" portrait of maternal love—"intricately interwoven with the ancient rites and myths" (Booklist) crucial to India's history. Meera, the narrator, is seventeen years old when she catches her first glimpse of Dev, performing a song so infused with passion that it arouses in her t ...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published January 12th 2009 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 2008)
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Anita You can read it as a standalone. Each book in The Hindu Gods series is a new story.
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Mar 15, 2009 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: distant-lands
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
Apr 19, 2011 Neeraja S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 11, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2010 Ami rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sunitha Prabhu
It's a fictional story about a woman's feelings/behavior with various men in her life - father, husband, brother-in-law, and son. Sounds interesting. However it was a bit confusing/difficult to understand as her feelings keep changing with no logical reason.

Meera wants to experience love, and knowingly falls for her sister's boyfriend, Dev. Once she is married to Dev, she is no longer "in love" with him and faults him. She goes out of her way to defy her "over powering" father, sleeps with her
Mar 08, 2010 Autumn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
P.C. Zick
Jun 11, 2013 P.C. Zick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nitya Sivasubramanian
This book was the worst. I didn't want to stoop to giving it one star because I try to save that for books that are actually poorly written, which I don't think is the issue with this book. This book suffers because I think the author simply chose the wrong person as a protagonist. Meera is a smugly misguided, defiantly bull-headed character who meanders through her life finding a way to blame every person except herself for all the (not that bad really) stuff that happens to her. In almost EVER ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Kkay_md rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 03, 2013 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jul 10, 2016 Morana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book, and about characters as well. Meera, the main character, is a rather melancholic person who is too attached to her son Ashvin. Their relationship clearly shows Oedip complex, incestous connotations. The background of her possesiveness lies in her unhappy childhood, when she felt neglected while being in shadow of her older sister Roopa. So to her, Ashvin was a promise of love and affection she always lacked. From that point of view I understand Meera and sy ...more
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
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
Sara Zovko
Ne znam zapravo što napisati o ovoj knjizi. S jedne strane oduševila me, s jedne me živcirala. Kombinacija ljubavne i obiteljske priče s kojom se stapa priča o Indiji, politici toga vremena, politici koja je dala velike povijesne ličnosti poput Indire Gandhi itd. Strogi vjerski običaji i vjerovanja ovdje su u kontrastu modernog doba koje je došlo i u Indiju, a s time se pokušava nositi i glavna junakinja, Meera koja je zbunjena i izgubljena baš poput Indije toga doba.
Ona je trebala biti snažan
Ankur Beohar
Jun 17, 2013 Ankur Beohar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 22, 2008 Tenli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Avantika Chatterjee
Finally finished at 3 in the morning...
Sudeepta Pradhan
This is the second book by Manil Suri and though i have not read his first book The death of Vishnu which received much more acclaim I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.
The story is of Meera born in a well to do family in Delhi. The story follows the time period of India post partition unto the emergency and the reemergence of Indira Gandhi in power. Suri has done a commendable job in his description and one feels as if we are travelling through a time machine and experiencing it first hand.
Nov 23, 2013 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
- 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
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
Vinod Peris
Aug 01, 2013 Vinod Peris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 18, 2008 Bailey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 17, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-cultures
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
Nov 07, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2010 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Ilia Johnson
Jan 22, 2017 Ilia Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Hindu Gods (3 books)
  • The Death of Vishnu
  • The City of Devi (The Hindu Gods, #3)

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