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The Folded Earth

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,708 ratings  ·  282 reviews
Anuradha Roy weaves an evocative and deeply moving tale of a young woman making a new life for herself amid the foothills of the Himalaya. Desperate to leave a private tragedy behind, Maya abandons herself to the rhythms of the little village, where people coexist peacefully with nature. But all is not as it seems, and she soon learns that no refuge is remote enough to ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Free Press (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  1,708 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anuradha Roy is a great story teller. Sadness suffuses her novels: don’t read an Anuradha Roy novel if you want a happy ending.

The Folding Earth is rich in characters, plot, and atmospherics. Roy animates even her more minor characters — the town administrator and his wife, the new town constable, the principal of the Catholic school, even Rani the pet deer fawn — with distinct personalities. Roy treats the village of Ranikhet in the Himalayan foothills as yet another character, together with
May 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Chad Walker
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mark Staniforth
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Sairam Krishnan
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With The Folded Earth, I have now read all of Anuradha Roy's novels. Like the others, this one is, too, a beautiful, felt story, told gorgeously. I will return to all of them again soon enough, as I think they deserve rereads, but something I have noted in Roy, something I have come to expect, is sheer atmosphere. Like how I could feel the riverine world that holds together the early parts of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, and the sea in Sleeping on Jupiter seems to frame the world itself, The ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written story of the tension between urban and rural life, as well as between the colonial era and modernity, in contemporary India. Maya, recently widowed, is reeling from the loss of her photographer/trekker husband, Michael, and is already estranged from her family for marrying outside her religion. She moves to the cantonment town of Ranikhet, near the western peaks of the Himalayas, in hopes of forgetting and moving on with a completely different lifestyle and cast of characters ...more
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that make you pause so you can visualize the scenes described. The narrative was lyrical, poetic and cinematic. And for me, the setting was so very comfortable, like going back to something familiar and even personal. The scenes and mood of a small Indian town are very well captured in this book. I would have given this book a five star but the end, I felt was slightly contrived.
Sara Salem
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Didn't want this book to end :(
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
• 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
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: india
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
Tayyba Kanwal
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
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 ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it. The descriptions of life in the cities and the rolling, mountainous countryside are wonderful.

It's beautifully written but...the plot is thin and I was left expecting more to happen, or be resolved or even to make clearer point. It was slightly disappointing and frustrating.

I think I have to read her previous book which I understand is better.
Shilpi Mittal
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, india
Stupendous... The folded earth is a book where you will not wait for story to is a book that weaves characters in such a detail and scenes so well expressed that filled life to them.. It was throughout the book that I could sense the damp smell of light house, could feel myself roaming around on those lonely roads of Ranikhet...Lovely narration, exciting plot and most enjoyable characters...
Swati Agrawal
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It had some of my favorite ingredients - Jim Corbett, a hilly town, Indian setting, Hyderabad.

Simple story telling, innocent characters and relatable events.

However, the climax was a bit unsettling for me, considering how it would have affected the life of so many characters.

A highly recommended read though!
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
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 ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 ...more
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
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
First of all, I read "Sleeping on Jupiter" when it was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize last year. I really liked that book. Then I read "An Atlas of Impossible Longing" a few months later and thought it equally beautiful. And now I have read "The Folded Earth" and Roy has done it again. She writes beautifully: there's nothing flamboyant about her writing, but it is a joy to read. Her characters feel real. The places they live feel real.

This book is a story primarily about a woman and a
Lakshmi Bharadwaj
Apr 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Here, there are a thousand trees and barking deer. Corbett is summoned from the forgotten pages of history and adored. The eccentrics gather for gossip beneath deodars, and even the plaintive is grandiose. Such a contained, elegant piece of work that is still manages fluidity and is full of lucid desire. An affectionate book, copious in longing and lyricism, sensitive to the human condition, observant and sentimental. A slow elegy, edged with the subversive, smooth unpredictability of a body of ...more
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very engaging book. The beautiful descriptions are as much a reason for reading this book as the characters that people it. It made me feel nostalgia for a bygone era and I almost never appreciate books that attempt to show the past as a better place. Perhaps because it relied on a kind of people from the past to evoke that feeling. Brave, committed, and with a very romantic worldview that I can't help but admire even as I feel it is naive. Anuradha Roy, I feel, has a wonderfully feminine ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Kitty Honeycutt
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 08, 2015 rated it liked it
The Himalayan town of Ranikhet is as much a character in the book as Maya and Charu and Diwan Sahib and Veer. Anuradha Roy has written an ode to the mountains and its people.. and to the vastness of grief and love. It's a gentle book, lyrical and quiet, with a purity of emotion that evoked strangely enough, a very ungentle and unquiet book - God of Small Things. This Roy should be explored further.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, india, book-club
A slow, detailed read about recovering from grief by belonging to a place. For me, it had the same intent as H is for Hawk, but without that book's incessant glumness. Maya and Ranikhet will stick with me. The story picked up speed in the second half and there were some twists and turns near the end!
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
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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.
“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.” 17 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.” 6 likes
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