by Aditi Mehta – Houston, TX
A few of us at the BG Staff were lucky enough to acquire a few copies of the wonderful new audiobook by Kamala Nair titled The Girl in the Garden.
Honestly, I’ve never listened to an audio book before and being an avid reader, I’ve always scoffed at the idea of not being able to flick through physical pages of a book. But, with my crazy hectic schedule The Girl in the Garden was a blessing these past weeks. I listened to tidbits during my commute to work and shuttling around the city and each time I was transported into a very powerful and compelling saga.
The story is Nair’s debut novel. Nair, born in London and raised in the US, has an impressive background with a degree from Oxford University and experience writing for Elle Decor. But beside this Brown Girl’s impressive resume, her story telling ability is so real and down to earth. I admit, initially the story was hard for me to get into, in that the writing can get pretty verbose and descriptive, but the plot itself quickly gets thick and mesmerizing.
Rakhee Singh, our protagonist and narrator, begins the story breaking off her impending marriage and traveling back to India to confront the horrors of one summer she spent in India with her mother. You are then transported to when Rakhee was ten years old and taken away from her father and home in Minnesota by her distraught mother. She was taken to a small Indian village where she met her cousins, aunts, and uncles. A naturally curious girl, Rakhee immediately sees that her family is shrouded in mysteries and no one is willing to give her straight answers, not even her mother. Craziest part? She finds a beautiful garden walled up deep in a forest with an even darker secret inside. The deeper Rakhee explores, the more trouble springs up.
I was surprised how dark and deep the novel got. Half way through, I was dying to get into the car to play the CDs and find out what happened next. The revelations at the end of the story will leave your mouth hanging open, but Nair does a great job in making the story surprisingly real. As the publisher explained, the book is a thrilling cross between The Namesake and The Secret Garden.
Another plus, the novel is read by another awesome Brown Girl Anitha Gandhi. Gandhi is a graduate of Columbia University and her film and TV credits include Outsourced and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
To learn more about the novel, Kamal Nair, and how to obtain a copy, visit http://kamalanair.com/.