A Handful of Rice Author:Kamala Markandaya A Handful of Rice does for Indian urban life what the author's classic novel, Nectar In A Sieve, did for the village. It is the story of young Ravi, arriving in the city only to find its brilliant promise nothing more than a reflection of his own active imagination. His once limitless ambition is slowly ground down between the desperate struggle... more » for existence among the masses and his own character.
He becomes involved with a band of thieves, led by the ruthless Damodar, who view society as a jungle which must be met on one's own terms. His love for the beautiful Nalini causes him to abandon his criminal ways and assume the responsibilities of family and business.
The odds, however, are weighted heavily against him. In the end, Ravi rebels against his adopted life style, turns again to Damodar, and, in a moving climax, is forced to choose between his tortured conscience and an act of violence.« less
This is one of my top 3 most memorable books ever read. Visual imagery, atmosphere, overall sense of place and character and dialogue is impeccable. I feel richer for having read this book. It has become part of my psyche - The numbers of people living so carefully frugal but still acknowledging the need for that occasional precious taste of sweetened ice has really stuck with me. The interplay between the extended families and how they managed to find room for one more body is graceful. I can't recommend it strongly enough.