Doreen's Reviews > Tiger Hills

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna
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Mar 06, 12

Read in May, 2011

This historical novel is an Indian "Gone with the Wind." Set between 1878 and 1936, it is a multi-generational saga about a love triangle.

This love triangle, involving Devi, Devanna and Machu, serves as a catalyst for a long sequence of tragedies. Devi, the female lead who connects all the main characters, makes choices with far-reaching consequences for the men who love her. Devanna is her childhood sweetheart until Devi meets Machu, the tiger killer.

Devi, spoilt, self-centred and stubborn, is not a likeable character. Some empathy is felt for her at the beginning but it wanes as her words and actions hurt those who love her the most. For example, she usurps another woman's child and then favours him while treating her own son with indifference. She repeatedly ignores her grandmother's warnings and becomes hard and brittle.

None of the characters are flawless (and that's a positive aspect of the book), but some suffer a great deal more than they deserve; however, the epilogue, where the author reverses a key plot development seemingly to end the novel on a happier note, should have been omitted.

The descriptions of Coorg (Kodagu), known as "the Scotland of India," are wonderful. The reader also learns a great deal about the culture of this region of India.

The suffering that passion can bring, the necessity of forgiveness and the consequences of choices are some of the themes developed in the novel.

This book would make a wonderful Merchant-Ivory production.
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