At 15, Maya is taking her mother’s ashes home to India, back to the grandparents she’s never met, traveling with her father in 1984, far from Canada where she was born.
Unheard-of for a Sikh and a Hindu to marry in India of the 1960s! Disowned by her family, his family warning of spiritual disaster, Maya’s parents emigrate to Manitoba, where Bapu hopes to be successful and Mata prays for children and peace.
The aloneness that the prairie winds swirled around her mother finds Maya in the crowded streets of poverty-stricken New Delhi, as she tries to make sense of everything in her journal, her diary in verse.
Suddenly, India’s Prime Minister is assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, and Hindus begin killing Sikhs in revenge. Bapu disguises himself and leaves Maya at their hotel while he tries to find a safe way for them to get to his hometown.
When rioters set fire to the hotel, Maya flees blindly into a city filled with mayhem, heading to the train station to go – anywhere. An accident, an attack, a fright, amnesia, a lost girl… Others continue telling Maya’s story when her own voice is no longer sufficient, as she journeys and drifts in confusion.
Can she find her voice again? Can she find her father? Did he really plan for her to marry someone here in India? How can she keep going, knowing that she left Mata’s ashes behind? This powerful novel in verse takes mature readers to a far land in a time not so distant, when civil war almost fractured India and its horrors threatened a young girl’s hold on reality.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA