Of Love and Affect
Barnita Bagchi
THE FOLDED EARTH by Anuradha Roy Hachette, India, 2011, 2011, 268 pp., 495
August 2011, volume 35, No 10

The folded earth produces mountains; in their folds in turn nestle hill-stations,in one of which Maya, the grieving, widowed protagonist of Roy’s novel winds up. In Ranikhet, to be precise. Ranikhet as much as Maya star in this novel. Sitting first in an airport lounge, and then in the bowels of an aeroplane, I consumed this beautifully-written novel with great enjoyment. This is a novel about love and affect, satisfyingly rounded out by a memorable gallery of peripheral characters. Corbett and Edwina Mountbatten’s absent presence notwithstanding, the novel is not one steeped in Raj nostalgia. There is a satisfying, momentum-ridden plot-line, particularly impressive in a work which does an accomplished job of giving us entry into the heroine’s reflective consciousness. Maya comes to the mountains from Hyderabad grieving for her late young lover and husband, killed while mountaineering. Disinherited by her pickle-industrialist father for her marriage, Maya teaches school, bonds with various locals, deals affectionately with her

“This is a novel about love and affect,satisfyingly rounded out by a memorable gallery of peripheral characters.”

landlord, the larger-than-life Diwan Sahib (widely believed to have letters exchanged between Edwina Mountbatten and Nehru in his possession), falls in love again, and acts as epistolary go-between for a young hill girl and her beloved, a migrant to the Big City.

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