Song of the Flame Tree

Song of the Flame TreeREADERS PLEASE NOTEThe Title And Cover Of This Book Has Been Changed To FLAME TREE ROADFrom The Acclaimed Author Of Teatime For The Firefly Comes The Story Of A Man With Dreams Of Changing The World Who Finds Himself Changed By Love1870s India In A Tiny Village Where Society Is Ruled By A Caste System And Women Are Defined Solely By Marriage, Young Biren Roy Dreams Of Forging A New Destiny When His Mother Suffers The Fate Of Widowhood Shunned By Her Loved Ones And Forced To Live In Solitary Penance Biren Devotes His Life To Affecting Change Biren S Passionate Spirit Blossoms As Wildly As The Blazing Flame Trees Of His Homeland With A Law Degree, He Goes To Work For The Government To Pioneer Academic Equality For Girls But In A Place Governed By Age Old Conventions, Progress Comes At A Price, And Soon Biren Becomes A Stranger Among His Own Countrymen Just When His Vision For The Future Begins To Look Hopeless, He Meets Maya, The Independent Minded Daughter Of A Local Educator, And His Soul Is Reignited It Is In Her Love That Biren Finally Finds His Home, And In Her Heart That He Finds The Hope For A New World. In her debut, Tea Time for the Firefly, Shona Patel touched on the plight of widows in India of the last century In the second, Flame Tree Road, she takes that topic a step further and makes their welfare the spur that motivates her protagonist, Biren Roy, to get a top notch British education, and become a lawyer Early on, Biren sees first hand what befalls those unfortunate women who become widowed and are cast aside, particularly in the character of Charulata, widowed at just thirteen how she loses her place and voice and is shunted to the outskirts of Indian society, becoming almost a ghost His own mother, when widowed, can no longer visit her best friend, can no longer eat with the family, no longer cook for her sons, or enjoy the same foods, and is forced to live in a shed, with little contact with her small sons.The initial setting for Flame Tree Road is rural villages, teashops and waterways make up the locale where the first part of the story unfolds The flavor and pac
India, the caste system, no rights for women except through marriage FLAME TREE ROAD addresses these issues that were prevalent in India during the 1800 s.Biren Roy is the main character His father died at a young age, and his mother, like all Indian widows, became an outcast once their husbands were gone Biren s mother s plight and the plight of all Indian widows gave Biren his drive to fight for equality for women in all respects not only marriage.Biren warmed my heart because of his goodness and his passion to help the women of India Biren luckily was sent to an English school in India, gained entrance to a college in London where he earned his law degree, and then returned to India to achieve his goal.We follow Biren, his family, and his career throughout the book Biren married, and the beauty and passion of his respect for his marriage and his wife oozed through the pages FLAME TREE ROAD is a book that will hold your interest because of the mesmerizing aspect of India and Biren s passion for helping the women of India Ms
What the heck It started out so good.but that ending SO bizarre This book was so enjoyable til halfway or even almost two thirds of the way through, and then it really goes downhill fast Multiple narrative mistakes and, frankly, a very unenjoyable ending for the main character his family Nitin becomes a completely irrelevant character Estelle gets SO much screen time as a character but Maya, in contrast, gets hardly any emotional depth and even the mother just fades and out of the storyline and her situation is never resolved I expected to be done for the widows by the end of the book, since that was the driving motivation for the main character By the time he actually accomplishes anything builds the school for girls , it gets hardly any treatment and then quickly gets passed from the MC into others hands anyway, as if it isn t the whole point and purpose of his life.Really didn t like t
2.5 stars In an interview with Shona Patel, she confesses to an almost excessive amount of researching before beginning her writing And this is obvious to the reader in all the big and small details of late 1800s and early 1900s India to be enjoyed in this book The flora and fauna, the caste system, with communities of fishermen, weavers, potters, outcasts such as the water gypsies, family dynamics, the plight of Indian women, especially widows, the relationship of native Indians with the European colonists, engagement and marriage customs, burial rituals, etc All this and is a stunning kaleidoscopic look at an ever fascinating country.As the prequel to TEATIME FOR THE FIREFLY, this story focuses on the early years of Biren Roy, who was grandfather Dadamoshai in that book which takes place in 1940s India on a colonial British tea plantation of Assam, just before India s independence from colonial rule So in FLAME TREE ROAD, the story begins with the marriage of Biren s parents, his birth in 1872 in Sylbet, Bengal, his family life, disrupted by tragedy, his years as a student both in Calcutta and in Cambridge, England and his subsequen
3.5 stars See the full review at was absolutely blown away by Shona Patel s debut novel, Teatime for the Firefly, when I read it a few years ago and haven t been able to forget her intelligent and independent heroine, Layla Roy, or Layla s determination to chart her own life in an Indian culture based on strict traditions and expectations The author s use of language and imagery completely transported me to the beautiful yet savage environment of the Assam tea plantations and brought a world to life that I had never seen before At the beginning of that novel we meet Layla s kind and free thinking grandfather, a man that raised Layla to be just as educated and self possessed as any man At a time when this way of thinking is nearly unheard of, Biren Roy has become a well respected man known for his unwavering support of equality for the women of India, especially involving education But how did he become this man Flame Tree Road is Biren s story of love, heartache and a passion born from tragedy that is just as beautiful as its predecessor.Flame Tree Road begins in a small village in 1870s India with Biren s family living a relatively poor yet loving and happy life His parents
I loved Shona Patel s Flame Tree Road and recommend it without reservation The author gave me an ARC copy of the prepublished novel in return for an honest review I read and thoroughly enjoyed her first novel, Teatime for the Firefly, and was anxious to revisit some of her characters in Flame Tree Road The two novels are entirely different but equally compelling I find Shona s writing to be filled with vivid imagery and fully developed characters who matter and are essential to the development of the story Shona is a masterful storyteller who deftly weaves richly developed imagery and serious cultural social issues throughout her stories I find myself caring deeply for her characters and the issues that play havoc with their lives I ve never traveled to India but Shona s writing takes me into a world which allows me to almost taste the foods, smell the fragrances, see the beauty of the flame trees and colorful saris and feel the pain of those who suffer greatly I have read many author s second books with high expectations because their first novels so impressed me I seriously doubt any reader of Flame Tree Road will find it to be less impressive than Teatime for the Firefly Each novel can stand on its own I will re read Teatime for the Firefly because I so enjoyed learning about Layl
I was so in love with Layla s grandfather Dadamoshai from Teatime for the Firefly, that I could not wait to read about his boyhood and early life in Flame Tree Road What a treat, to return to Shona Patel s story world and watch these characters come alive again with such drama, with so much heart.We get to see Dadamoshai, a.k.a Biren Roy, in his formative years, coping with the harsh realities of his life, the fate of his parents, and his determination to bring justice into his world, particularly for women.Against the backdrop of the patriarchal society in both England and India, Biren Roy s thoughtfulness and deep respect toward women is so refreshing His life is all about opening equality for women so difficult to do in that time and place.His love for Maya is a sheer delight, as is she herself.Patel reveals turn of the century India to us, and it is remarkable to see She blends everything together so well strong characters, rich details, the culture and lore of the village peopl
This was a beautifully written story of Biren Roy s life Patel s writing truly paints a picture of a time and a place that seems both exotic and everyday Biren Roy is a sort of extraordinary ordinary man, and it s easy to care about him He could be called the man who loves women, but not in a womanizing sense largely due to his mother s early widowhood and the ensuing events, he believes passionately in gender equality and strives toward that goal through education and bureaucracy I think Teatime for the Firefly was probably successful because the setting of Assam was so isolated, whereas here she tries to cover the village life of what is now Bangladesh, the busy world of Calcutta, the life of the Indian students of Cambridge It s a lot.The same is true with the scope of the story, which follows Biren from boyhood to old age While some events are described in detail, others are bypassed completely or filled in with broad strokes In some cases, that makes sense events in his mother and brother s lives in India while he s in England wouldn t be appropriate to relate firsthand However, his wedding is summed up in a brief sentence along the lines of after five days of traditional Bengali celebrations I wanted to hear about these traditional Bengali celebrations Not to mention about the briefly explored relationship between the Hindu and Muslim communities And the inherent problems, such as disease and flood, th
This review was originally posted on Spun I don t usually read historical fiction but I borrowed Flame Tree Road from the library because I was intrigued by the premise As an Indian girl living abroad, I don t know as much about Indian culture as I d like to so I embraced this opportunity to learn a few things about India in 1870s.I like the style in which the author addressed issues like the caste system and discrimination against women through the main character s perspective Although Biren s efforts to effect change are often thwarted sometimes the people he works with don t care enough about educating girls or there s resistance from the traditional , he remains hopeful and doesn t allow the mammoth nature of the task to overwhelm him Biren is a very driven and passionate character After his mom becomes a widow, she is treated as an outcast and this makes Biren realize that he wants to change things for the better for others like her Flame Tree Road follows Biren throughout his life so we watch as Biren is born and slowly grows older The author s writing style is lovely and I trul