The Hero’s Walk was my 5th and final read from the Canada Reads 2016 short-list of novels sharing the theme of starting over. It is a tale of the rigid thinking of a Sripathi, a father from India, who shuns his beloved daughter when she marries a Canadian man. His daughter and her husband are killed in a tragic car accident leaving him the caregiver of their young daughter, Nandana.
Initially, three generations live together in a home full of bitter memories which is slowly decaying around them. Sripathi’s mother is bitter after a life of disappointment including a husband who cheated on her and died young, leaving her to be cared for by her only son. After multiple stillbirths, her son Sripathi had not become the doctor she wished for . Her daughter Putti remained unmarried and living at home with the family after numerous failed matchmaking attempts. Sripathi had forgotten his love for his wife and he is disappointed with his son Arun related to his involvement in political activism. Sripathi has been estranged from his beloved daughter, Maya, who had gone to America for her education and subsequently announced her marriage to a man who was not Indian. He had refused to read her letters, talk to her on the phone or have her visit, even when he learned of his grand-daughter, causing strife in his own marriage.
Sripathi receives a call from Canada with the news that Maya has died and ends up bringing his grand-daughter, Nandana home to India which is an adjustment for all. Nandana, in her grief, refuses to talk and struggles to get used to Indian life despite the kindness of her grandmother and uncle.
Without providing a spoiler, the family adjusts to Nandana’s arrival leading to new beginnings for the family. This was an interesting story of two cultures colliding and the unfortunate impact of decisions made. It is also the story of love, perseverance and resilience.
All 5 novels were very unique and I am looking forward to the discussion during the Canada Reads debates as well as our book club discussion. Each member of book club has chosen a contender to read so I look forward to hearing the views of our group and hope that all books are represented.