Tuesday, September 18, 2007
On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad
When I first heard about this novel by Chandra Prasad, I was very excited about reading it. My husband was born in Bombay India and I'm always interested in a peek into the Asian psyche. (Hey it beats marriage counseling - j/k- you know I love ya honey!)
So I was disappointed to find that the subject of the novel is not an Indian woman but of one Adele Pietra, daughter of a quarryman who goes to Yale disguised as her brother who was accepted but then tragically killed. Since the author did indeed attend Yale I was left with the thought that this book would have been much more interesting if she had written from her life. Her prose is very well done and her descriptions, a real interest-killer are not overdone. There are exciting and interesting elements to the story,a social outreach by the protagonist, a romance, a "National Treasures" find in the tunnels under Yale, suspense, drama, family conflict but what kept coming back to me was- "What will Adele do when she earns her diploma from Yale in her brother's name!"
I know I am the ultimate pragmatist and maybe I let that ruin the story for me. In the great tradition of literature the disguise of the feminine is not unknown. Immediately we think of National Velvet, Mulan, George Eliot. I understand that the point is to highlight the inequities that women face but I'm fiercely loyal to my sex and there is no enticement to me to "transform myself into a man".
While this was not my favorite book, I will definitely look for other titles by Chandra Prasad because I think she shows promise and she will hopefully keep writing. Maybe next time she will write about the "real girl" that went to Yale.
Available from Amazon books.