Kalyana, by Rajni Mala Khelawan (Review by Jennifer Ramsey)
Let me start by saying the beautiful cover of this book had me drawn in from the start, and the beginning pages of the detailed description of the Fiji Islands had me on vacation in my dreams. The story is about Kalyana, and begins when she is a very young girl, and follows her all the way into adulthood. We learn about her family, how Kalyana doesn’t really feel she fits in and goes into great description of each member of her family. The close relationship she has with her father, and the tight sisterhood amongst her mother and aunt.
The author teaches us about the politics and issues in Fiji in the 1960’s, and about the Fiji and Indian people who reside there. Kalyana suffers a great personal tragedy, that ultimately is life changing, for herself and her relationship with her mother.
I enjoyed reading the story, and enjoyed the way the story closes, with Kalyana moving away from Fiji to start new, finding a close female friend she can trust, marriage to her childhood friend, and a daughter of her own. Most importantly, coming to terms with happened to her as a child, and making amends with her mother.
Review by Jennifer Ramsey