The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
Publisher: Bloomhill Books
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: 4 stars
Pre-Order the book here: The Color of our Sky
This ARC was provided by Bloomhill Books (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
The Color of Our Sky is a beautifully rendered and emotionally powerful book. Set primarily in Mumbai, India, the novel tells the stories of Tara and Mukta, two childhood friends from vastly different social backgrounds whose lives are forever changed by a series of tragic events in their childhood. Mukta is a lower caste girl, the daughter of a temple prostitute, who is destined to the same fate as her mother. When her mother dies, Tara’s father rescues her from her fate by bringing her home to live with his family. The two girls become close until tragedy strikes again and Mukta is stolen from their house and seemingly lost forever. Tara and her father move to America and she grows up believing that Mukta is dead, carrying guilt for her role Mukta’s abduction. After her father’s death, Tara discovers that her father had lied to her about Mukta. Vowing to return to India and find Mukta, Tara embarks on a journey that takes her deep into the world of human sex trafficking.
The novel is told from the alternating perspectives of Tara and Mukta and the narratives weave back and forth in time spanning from the 1980s through present day. As the stories shift back and forth, we learn the fate of Mukta and the truth about the events that led up to her abduction. Heart-breaking but also inspiring, the novel highlights the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of human connection (friendship and family) to overcome unspeakable adversity.
I didn’t think I would enjoy reading this book. The subject matter is difficult and I generally avoid reading books that I know ahead of time will involve abuse of children. But it’s an important topic and Trasi uses great sensitivity and emotion in writing about Mukta’s experiences. I found myself immediately drawn into their lives and I loved how the author brought all the pieces together at the end. Tara and Mukta were both strong and resilient female characters and I felt heavily invested in both of their stories. The book has the feel of a mystery novel since both Tara and the reader are trying to piece together what happened to Mukta after she was abducted. It is also a very clear social commentary on the impact of the human sex slave industry and a critique of the caste system. The author was inspired to write this book based on her experience growing up with the daughter of a servant who worked with her family.
Trasi does describe some horrendous things, but not in overly very graphic or explicit detail. While some readers may feel like this approach glosses over the true horrors of what happens in the sex trade industry, others will appreciate being able to read about this important topic without being subjected to very graphic details. India is considered to be one of the leaders in human sex trafficking. According to non-profit group, equality now, (equalitynow.org), 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide. Women and children make up 98% of all sex trade trafficking. Devadasis (or “servants of God) like Mukta still exist in India today even though the practice was officially outlawed in the late 1980s. You can see a 30-minute documentary about the Devadasis here:
Overall, it was a beautiful story about the power of friendship that also highlighted important social problems in India. The author clearly cares about the subject matter and has links to various aid organizations on her social media accounts. I thought this was a strong debut novel and it was one of my favorite books that I read last month. I look forward to reading the author’s future works and I encourage you to read the book for yourself.
This book comes out June 30 but, you can pre-order your book here:The Color of our Sky
Stay tuned for an author interview with Amita Trasi coming up later this month!