Voices in the Valley
By Suravi Sharma Kumar
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 3 stars
The story of Millie begins in the 1960s in Tezpur, Upper Assam in Northeastern India. Readers meet the little girl, her family, and begin to see the cultural aspects of their lives, as well as the risks to their area from the Chinese army.
Years pass, first with Millie in her teens, and the changes in her family life, until 1975 when the daughters were of age for matrimony. The story continues with conflict holding the reader.
Of Millie, the author states, “Without her perceiving the conflict within herself, she had two different sets of views: the beliefs of a girl brought up in an orthodox family, and the perspective of the independent woman moulded in school and college.”
The overuse of telling, without showing, took away from the power of the story, slowing movement of the reading. However, the author writes excellent descriptions, background, and dialogue that add to the well-conceived story line to capture readers into this story despite this weakness.
Thus, this reviewer believes that readers will read on, wanting to know more about Millie, and the changes she encounters.
“Maybe this is life, Millie thought. Adorned, revered, and worshipped in a canopied shrine one day, only to be abandoned to perish the next. Change is life. Change is inevitable. Values, ethics, relationships – all must change. Only the lifeless stay unchanged, disintegrate and decay. Rest all change. They adapt to live.”