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Ramya's Treasure
Guernica Editions, Fall 2018
304 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771833288
ISBN10: 1771833289
$25.00 Canada, $25.00 US

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Ramya, an immigrant from India, is nearing her 50th birthday. But there's no cause to cheer. Recently separated, and laid off from work as well, she feels lonely, alienated, and despondent. Then one day she chances upon a sandalwood box containing her cherished childhood treasures, and this triggers the need to review her present circumstances. In a bid to bring herself out of the quagmire of depression, she examines the relationships she has had--filial, marital, quasi-maternal, societal, professional, et al. Delving into her past, Ramya tries to find strength to reconstruct her future, to rediscover meaning and purpose. Written with sympathy and humour, the novel has two intertwined threads simultaneously unspooling: one set in the present about Ramya's battle to rebuild her life; the other, a series of sorties into the past. One narrative skein is Canadian, modern and multicultural, while the other is Indian, steeped in myth and mysticism. They are the two sides of the same coin: the world as seen through the bi-focal lens of immigrant reality.
Ramya awakes, thinking of the small sandalwood chest that has been lying undisturbed for so many years on the topmost shelf of the closet in her spare bedroom. She turns on her side and squints at the clock. 7:25 AM. Ever since she was laid off from work, she's has been waking up at half past eight or nine, a far cry from the days when she had to set her alarm to 5:30 in the morning. If the alarm failed to sound (or, she was too deep in sleep to hear it go) there would have been hell to pay. She lolls in the bed, luxuriating in the indolence of the jobless, wondering what it was that made her think of the box. Was it the fragrance, so sweet and cloying, of the wood the casket was made of?

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