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The Hero's Walk

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,369 ratings  ·  313 reviews
The Hero's Walk, the second novel by Anita Rau Badami, is a big, intimate book, the kind that seldom strays beyond the doors of a single residence. Set in the sweltering streets of Toturpuram, a small city on the Bay of Bengal, The Hero's Walk, which won the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize for best book in Canada and the Caribbean, explores the troubled life of Sripathi Ra ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 2nd 2002 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published 2000)
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,369 ratings  ·  313 reviews

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Elizabeth Jennings
I consider this book one of my sweetest finds. I came across it by happenstance, was mesmerized by the opening, bought it, and quickly disappeared into the plot.

As others have noted, it is a quiet novel, showing the deeper meaning of the word “hero” while dwelling in the still spaces of everyday human moments. One such moment that has become a part of me is the image of Koti, the downtrodden maid, sweeping the courtyard sand into a rangoli—a beautiful pattern to ward off evil. This and similar
Matthew Quann
I decided to begin my annual Canada Reads adventure with the Indian family tale, "The Hero's Walk." The tale opens in India as Sripathi Rao learns of his estranged daughter's death and his newfound status as next of kin for a granddaughter he has never met. Sripathi, a man set in his ways, is sent to Canada to collect his granddaughter and begin her upbringing in India. Sripathi is forced on a journey of self-discovery to reevaluate his new role within his family. This
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked this one for the most part. Like so many books it begins well and retains a consistency, of characters, plot, narration and language right up to three quarters of the way. Then it seemed as if the author's steady train of thought was interceded by irregular neuronal activity. Which means the author suddenly included an inappropriate twist which the story could easily have done without. Let us attribute it to lack of sleep, or a looming deadline. While it happens to the best of us, this l ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
What an excellent read! Rau Badami can certainly spin a wonderful tale, so many of her sentences were amazingly written. She also created one of the more despised mother-characters I've read about in a long time! Overall, a wonderful story, wonderful characters -- this one is a little quieter in terms of the Canada Reads 2016 theme of "starting over", but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment reading it.
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another CanLit book club selection. As I started reading this my first thought was, "thank god, this is going to be way better than Birdie."

A solid 4.5 for sure, but really I think I have to go with 5 stars because this book made me happy and it actually felt like the words were feeding my soul.

I loved the authenticity of this. Even just a couple pages in it was clear that it was written by an Indian. Everything was so familiar and relatable to me and made me smile; silly things like covering t
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to always gravitate towards books about India – there is something very intriguing about the family life, the traditions, richness of the culture, the ties to the Commonwealth – the sights, the sounds and the smells. There is just something "spicy" about novels set in India. The setting is full of action, full of movement and there is so much imbedded in atmosphere, and there is always much to ponder. I think this author has done an admirable job in telling her story. Perhaps as a foreign ...more
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I REALLY liked this book. I will probably reread it sometime in the near future. There is page after page turned down to mark favorite snippets. The characters in this book are so wonderful. The author manages to do something that most others can't: She has made it clearly understandable how members of this family can love and dislike each other at the same time without turning anyone into a hero or a villian.

The characters are always using the best turns of phrase:
"...You will appreciate this g
3.5 stars

Sripathi and his daughter had a falling out when she moved to Canada from India and wanted to marry someone she met there. They never spoke again, though Maya went on to have a little girl herself, Nandana. Unfortunately, when Nandana was only 7-years old, Maya and her husband died in a car crash. Sripathi had to collect his granddaughter and bring her to India to take care of her and to live with the rest of the family: his son, Arun, his sister, Putti (who never got married, as their
Jul 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
So I grabbed this book and thought "Wow, this sounds so familiar and yet I know I haven't read it."

Half way through, I realized I had to read this book in university for my South Asian Literature class.

Good read then, good read now. Apparently not memorable enough though. Heck, I remember having to write an exam on this book, and forgetting half of the characters names. I used so many euphemisms for female and male, I think my teacher just felt sorry for me and ignored the fact I couldn't disti
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
این کتاب درباره خانواده ای شش نفره است که در شهری کوچک زندگی می کنند و زندگی شان پر از اتفاقات ریز و درشت روزمره و مرگ و ازدواج و... است. هر یک از اعضای این خانواده راوی بخشی از داستان(زبان سوم شخص)هستند. کتاب در عین حال که پر از فلش بک به خاطرات گذشته شخصیت ها است، تصویری از جامعه هند و وضعیت زندگی مردمان طبقات پایین را نشان می دهد.
این کتابِ از نظر من عالی و حال خوب کن را با قیمت 6800 تومان و چاپ اول زمستان 1387 خیلی اتفاقی خریدم. نمی دانم چرا کتاب در این ده سال تجدید چاپ نشد.
اگر به ادبیات هن
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
A novel of a deeply disfunctional family, caught in the behaviours of the past as they confront the modern world. Sirapathi, the father is trying to support a large old home, an aging sadistic mother, a rebellious son and a daughter who moves to Vancouver, marries and has a daughter. He is loosing his relevance at work and lives with constant criticism from his wife and mother. When his daughter dies in a traffic accident he brings home his granddaughter. She has stopped talking and rejects her ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Nirmala realized that her rhythm was off slightly and the students were uncertainly going through the steps. She wiped her eyes and nodded approvingly at the girl who was to play King Rama. She performed the hero's walk to perfection – graceful, dignified, measured. But the one who played Ravana, the demon king, was awkward and restrained. “Stamp harder,” she urged. “Remember you are also a great king, full of valour. But you are vain, and that is what sets you apart from the hero. Thrust out y
Hina Zephyr
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Hero's Walk was shortlisted for Canadareads 2016. Anita rau Badami has created a great story about victims of circumstance. My feelings for the main characters evolved as the story progressed. Sympathy for Ammaya's tragic life turned to revulsion as she continued to demand pity and refused to show any empathy for her family. Sripathi's impassive and cold demeanor hid a broken man, struggling with remorse, while Putti, the obliging daughter, finally cracks under the strain of spinsterhood and ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Living in a mouldering home in sweltering Torturpuram, on the Bay of Bengal, middle-aged Sripathi writes ad copy by day and deals with his overbearing mother, loving but hectoring wife and rebellious son at home. Estranged from his beloved daughter who rejected a traditional life to move to Vancouver and marry a Westerner Sripathi's life is upended by a phone call bringing tragic news that requires him to travel to Canada and bring his granddaughter back to India. Anita Rau Badami vividly descri ...more
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This very rich and detailed novel is about the heroism in coping with life's challenges. It describes a family of assorted characters and shows how loss and new circumstances change them. Badami is a very gifted writer; I was struck by how real the characters, especially the main one, Sripathi, seemed. Their thoughts showed an honesty and fragility that emphasized how human they were. A secondary element of this book is the cultural background of life in a small Indian town, but what I really li ...more
May 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what to say about this novel. It kept me engaged and reading, but it also felt lacking in some way. I think it's that I enjoyed the characters, but not so much the plot of the novel. I liked the way the characters, especially Maya's parents, redeem themselves by raising their granddaughter. And there was some lovely humor surrounding the matriarch of the family, the great grandmother. But these elements didn't hold the novel together in ways that make me want to recommend it beyond ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written enjoyable read.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sripathi sat motionless, unable to move. He stared at his hands, knotted with the weight of the years they had carried; the paper cut on his left hand, just below the thumb, which began to burn the moment he noticed it; and the three black moles on his palm, which he had believed for years would bring him untold wealth. These were the hands that had cradled a small body, stroked unruly curls off a sweaty forehead, swung a little girl - his first born - in the air above his head. The same hands
There is hope felt in this book, but there is also sadness. It is the sadness of cultural restraints that people allow themselves to be pigeon holed into — one way of thinking and being. This is not unique to one culture; all cultures experience this in their own ways. However, even with this sadness, I found The Hero's Walk interesting, as characters grew and adapted during a difficult time in life.

The title baffled me; who is the hero? The answer: the hero is different for each reader. That is
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A reminder of all the interesting aspects of the culture of India. Having been there recently the images were vivid.
❀ Susan G
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Hero’s Walk was my 5th and final read from the Canada Reads 2016 short-list of novels sharing the theme of starting over. It is a tale of the rigid thinking of a Sripathi, a father from India, who shuns his beloved daughter when she marries a Canadian man. His daughter and her husband are killed in a tragic car accident leaving him the caregiver of their young daughter, Nandana.

Initially, three generations live together in a home full of bitter memories which is slowly decaying around them.
Dec 17, 2012 added it
First of all, I do not know what relevance the title has to the story. However, a very well written story, sometimes funny, mostly poignant, tale of a small child orphaned in Canada. Her mother was Indian who's family severed all ties with when she married a Canadian. Now the grandfather is the legal guardian for the child and how the child copes with new life in India and how he copes with a new grandchild is the story.
The Indian life is perfectly depicted. The librarian who whets the books he
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, 2016-books

i'm not even really sure how to sum up what i am feeling about this read, but i feel very disappointed that i didn't like this novel more.

grief and disappointment are tricky terrains - in life and in fiction. it's important to honour how people navigate these periods in their lives, and everyone will do things in their own way. at the same time, if you are enduring grief and disappointments, you don't want to alienate those closest to you. i felt alienated by badami's story. i felt like
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, authentic novel by a young women about a dissolute middle aged Indian man, Sirpathi who lives in a small town, Toturpuram near Chennai. He is a copy writer, and has a dutiful wife, Nirmala, a 40 year old unmarried sister, Putti, a social activist, unemployed son, Arun, and a mean-spirited controlling mother, Ammayya. Sirpathi is a copy editor living in a house that was once grand during his father’s life but not decaying. He has disowned his beloved daughter, Maya, because after get ...more
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ms. Badami has written an amazing book about the struggles of being human, of finding your place in the world when everything you know is suddenly taken away. Filled with humour and understanding and so many internal struggles presented throughout the book. There is a considerable amount of thought put into each characters' developement. Each scenerio in the book is concocted with what has to be the intent to show the capacity for human growth, kindness, and struggle. The book takes place, mostl ...more
Bekah Crozier
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great read.
About a family living in India who came to disown their only daughter when she chose to marry a man outside of their caste and move to Canada. After 10 long years of separation, the family in India receive a call telling them that their daughter and son-in-law have passed and they will now have to care for their only grandchild with them in India. A beautiful story of a family submersed in tragedy and crisis coming together and finding new meaning in their lives.
Beautifully writte
Doriana Bisegna
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anita Rau Badami is an excellent story teller! This novel about an Indian family has all the elements of a great story! Tragedy, humour, drama and love! I was constantly amused and entertained throughout!
I have had the honor of hearing her speak in person about her various novels and always found her to be endearing and funny! Those elements of her personality shine through in this novel. I now plan to read her more recent books and hope that they are just as good!
Gin Jenny (Reading the End)
A really great example of a type of book that isn't exactly my cup of tea: The Rao family lives in moderate harmony until news of Sripathi's estranged daughter's death reaches them, and they have to take in her seven-year-old daughter Nandana. Everyone in the family deals with this -- and with their own set of problems -- differently, and it's all interesting and good, but a little too discursive and family-saga-y for my tastes.

(I hate family sagas. It's not Anita Rau Badami's fault.)
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good read - I found hard to put this book down. A story about a Brahmin Indian family trying to come to terms with the death of their daughter who had disgraced her family by marrying a man outside of their culture. The family struggles to overcome pride, recognize that old customs are not always very realistic (and often very inhumane) and that forgiveness goes a long way to healing relationships.
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Living in Canada since 1991.