Divine Music

Author/Illustrator/Editor: Suruchi Mohan

In her richly textured debut novel, Suruchi Mohan opens our eyes to the intricate world of North Indian classical music. We are swept along by the story of Sarika, whose beautiful voice isn’t enough to protect her from being an Indian woman in an unforgiving world. Steeped in the culture and traditions of India, Divine Music is a captivating read. - Gail Tsukiyama, bestselling author of The Street of a Thousand Blossoms and Dreaming Water Suruchi Mohan’s novel, Divine Music, tells the story of Sarika, a talented student of Indian music, who falls in love with her music teacher and learns the hard way about the place of women in traditional Indian society. Told against the backdrop of political and social changes in India during the seventies, and the growing dissatisfaction of ordinary people, Divine Music is at the same time a story of love and betrayal, of society tangled in its own net of customs and traditions, of accomplishment and fall, and of hope that one could still learn something from one’s own mistakes. But most of all, this is a novel about the beauty and power of music, its ability to help and heal, to come to one’s rescue after everything else has failed. - David Albahari, author, Words are Something Else, Bait, Tsing, and others.Mohan’s impressive debut explores the connections between spiritual and physical passion in a shifting Indian society, through the lives of two musically gifted young Indian women. Sarika and Swati follow their artistic muses to the local conservatory, where each succumbs to the passions of older men attracted by their talent. Swati, from a poor village, is ruined when her wealthy businessman admirer impregnates and then abandons her. Sarika, the daughter of a well-placed government official, receives private after-class instruction from Kirana, a renowned voice teacher, but falls prey to his seductive lessons on the sensuality of music, and ends up in the same predicament as classmate Swati. The contrasting fates of these similarly afflicted young women leads to a rich multi-generational portrait of a changing cultural and political landscape riddled with new opportunity as well as age-old opportunism. - Publisher’s Weekly, web exclusive, November 16, 2009. This debut novel by a former journalist homes in on the repressive side of 1970s Indian culture. Sarika is a gifted music student attending a renowned music college in Lucknow in North India. Her revered teacher, Kirana, possesses a singular voice, rich in emotion, and he recognizes in Sarika a talent much greater than his own. As he teaches her the phrasing and pitch necessary to sing Hindustani classical music, the two begin to bond emotionally through their mutual love of singing. And when the married Kirana begins to visit her at home for private lessons, the two begin an intense love affair, one that opens Sarika’s eyes to the hypocrisy of her own culture. The limited options for women are underlined through two subplots, one involving a poor Indian music student whose reputation is ruined after being unwittingly seduced by a callous businessman, the other involving Sarika’s cousin, who is prevented from marrying the boy she loves by her status-conscious parents and is instead pressured into entering an arranged marriage. Despite its hazy chronological structure, which can be a distraction, this accessible, engrossing first novel offers an unusual blend of social commentary, coming-of-age themes, and a love for sacred Indian music. Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist Online.

Bayeux Arts
DateISBNBISAC CodeThemaRights available
09/15/20099781897411063FICTION / Romance / AdultWorld rights available
EnglishPaperback / softback5.5 in x 8.5 inC$19.95280