Hi Friends, I’ve just finished The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani. It’s not exactly a historical fiction, more like a time-shift. (see post) When I first read the blurb, I felt drawn to it. And at the same time was afraid to read it. Let me explain, I’ve had several miscarriages and when I saw those words (about the heroine), I felt an instant connection. At the same time, it was a very dark time in my life–a time that I had no desire to revisit. So, I was afraid that this book might push me back to that dark night in my soul.
Glad I finished, I survived, and I loved it!
Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.
Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.
What I think
As mentioned above, I can totally relate to Jaya. My marriage also went through a rough patch, just as Jaya’s did. Let me tell you, not many people understand the pain. When a child dies, friends and family rally to support the grieving parents. But when an unborn child dies in the womb, few people notice or even care. Of course, there are those unfortunate ones who don’t even get that far. Never even conceived. Just the insatiable longing for a baby, a family.
Back to the story, it’s beautifully written. In traveling to India, Jaya intends to run away from her misery. There, she learns about her grandmother, Amisha, and finally comes to understand her mother’s behavior. It is emotionally charged. Readers can come away with their own judgment. Could Amisha have done something different? Would things have turned out differently? Of course, we all have to remember the cultural boundaries, as well as when the story took place.
The following excerpt makes me think of our Catholic, Christian saying, “When God closes one door, He opens another.”
“This is my final entry from India. I’m ready to go home. This means facing the despair I ran from. I’m returning with a new sense of purpose and understanding. Maybe life is a series of decisions with destiny thrown in. Maybe it is accepting that the impossible means opening another door. And maybe it means that you have to stand the strongest during the hardest of life’s times. My darkness has not disappeared, but it is fading. With gratitude for all that I have and a glimmer of hope for what I can be, I release my past and look to the future.” (My emphasis )
Badani, Sejal. The Storyteller’s Secret: A Novel (p. 382). Lake Union Publishing. Kindle Edition.
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