When it’s March and CBC’s battle of the books Canada Reads takes place, I am SO proud to be Canadian. Five celebrities champion five books that they think all of Canada should read. This year the theme for the books was “starting over.”All five celebrities do read all five of the books by Canadian authors and engage in a lively and passionate debate on air. Each day one of the books is eliminated, so it is a nail biter with a final winner chosen after only 4 days. This year’s winner was The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, a compelling page turner about a marathon runner refugee. Since I read this book last year, find a full review here. It was a close race (pardon the pun) with The Hero’s Walk in the finale. Podcasts of Canada Reads are still available on CBC.ca if you want to listen to the debate. It was a really articulate panel this year. In my opinion, both books are deserving of the Canada Reads 2016 title.
The Hero’s Walk is wonderfully readable and engaging–I loved it! The main characters are so lifelike and leap off the page. Badami’s beautiful writing style captures India and Indian culture so perfectly, you can feel the heat and smell the streets and hear the neighbourhood. The novel takes place mostly in India, but there is a Canadian connection in the form of a little girl called Nandana.
Sripathi Rao is proud of his daughter Maya, but cuts all ties with her when she breaks off her arranged marriage in India and leaves to marry a Canadian in Vancouver. When Maya and her husband are tragically killed in a car accident, their daughter Nandana must travel to India to live with grandparents she has never met. Talk about starting over! When Nandana comes to stay, Sripathi begins a journey of his own: one of transformation, forgiveness, and second chances. A beautiful book about painful endings and new beginnings, and the hard but sweet work of being family.