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The Age of Shiva (The Hindu Gods #2)

3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,515 Ratings  ·  237 Reviews
Following his spectacular debut, The Death of Vishnu, Manil Suri returns with a mesmerizing story of modern India, richly layered with themes from Hindu mythology. The Age of Shiva is at once a powerful story of a country in turmoil and an extraordinary portrait of maternal love. Meera, the narrator, is seventeen years old when she catches her first glimpse of Dev, perform ...more
Published February 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,908)
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Mar 19, 2009 karen rated it liked it
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
Oct 20, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
P.C. Zick
Jun 29, 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
Mar 13, 2010 Autumn rated it did not like it
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Feb 09, 2014 Shuba Krishnan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 23, 2016 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved The Death of Vishnu and the portrayal of the complex communal forces in India. This book follows a young Hindu woman in newly independent India, a time of hope, upheaval and almost unmanageable change. Suri speaks through the voice of Meera, whose businessman father rejects traditional expectations for women and urges her to become educated and independent. She rebels against paternal control, makes a poor marriage, and ultimately embraces, to an unhealthy extent, an obsessive maternal f ...more
Jul 25, 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
Jan 12, 2016 Hema rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare books, i.e. one that has excellent prose, pace, and narrative structure, and yet is somehow still kind of terrible.

I think it's partly because the book's central journey and it's main character, Meera, are so dull and uninspiring. Meera takes a Forrest Gump-like journey through the first few decades of India's history as an independent country. She is a stubborn, unreasonable, and blows so hot and cold that you never get a sense for who she is as a person, and you neve
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.
Mar 06, 2016 Kylie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international
I am not a reader who needs my characters to be likable, but I do need to understand where they are coming from, and in this book the heroinne/anti-heroinne's motivations are so opaque, that it's a completely frustrating reading experience. The main character makes one bad choice after another, and then blames everyone but herself for the consequences. In this novel Suri exposes the ugly destructive side of too much mothering, an unfulfilled woman who turns her son into her spouse. There's a lot ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Avantika Chatterjee
Finally finished at 3 in the morning...
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
Mar 17, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it
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
Feb 25, 2009 Ellen rated it liked it
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 Cheekhooree
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
Apr 19, 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
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
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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 Hindu Gods, #1)
  • The City of Devi (The Hindu Gods, #3)

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