Karma is a moving fictionalization of the horrific massacre of Sikhs in India, told through verse and from the perspective of a teenage Canadian girl. What is real? What remains when we all fade away? Two things: Love.

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As time passes Leela becomes more and more depressed and eventually commits suicide. It is Jiva who finds the body of her mother hanging in the family home. Jiva and her father are newly arrived in Delhi, India on October 31, when they learn that Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, has just been assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards in the garden of her house.

Soon chaos descends upon Delhi, with Hindus rampaging throughout the city murdering Sikhs who are easily recognizable by their colourful turbans and beards. When Bapu disappears after leaving Jiva to try to find a way out of the city for them, Jiva is placed in great danger.

She decides to flee the hotel they are staying at and ends up taking a journey that leads her to witness a horrible event. This event is so traumatic that Jiva stops speaking and is taken in by the family of a woman doctor who treats her in Jodhpur. While staying with this family she gradually falls in love with the adopted son, Sandeep who helps her to get well emotionally and to reunite with her father.

Karma is told first in the voice of Jiva and then when Jiva can no longer speak, in the voice of Sandeep. Karma is written in diary form and in free verse. Although I enjoyed the character Sandeep very much, I thought his writing a diary was also odd. Teenage boys writing diaries? Nevertheless Sandeep was humorous and I loved how he was attracted to Jiva and behaved honourably towards her.

Sandeep was sweet and showed that he was deeply concerned about Jiva, which I felt endeared him to the reader. The other drawback to this book is its length - a huge chunky book of pages which may or may not deter even the most enthusiastic teen readers. Her poem Mirage, providing an account of events leading into the trauma Jiva experiences on the train out of Delhi en route to Jodhpur is one such example. Mirage They come across the yellow fields running with dark faces and teeth bared through ribbons of heated air a mirage of false water.

The train slows as if waiting for them to catch up. Why are we stopping here? Is it wolves? But they are not wolves we should have prayed for wolves but men instead carrying iron rods and knives hands gripping gasoline cans voices shouting into the hot dry air their fury stirring the dust like a wind. Book Details:.


September 2016

Posted by Amy on Aug 20, in Book Reviews , Manitoba 0 comments Summary: With one parent who is Sikh and one who is Hindu, Maya Jiva is caught in the middle with two names and conflicting beliefs about God and life. Maya and her father are separated during the riots, each believing the other is dead, and when Maya witnesses a man being burned alive because he is a Sikh she finds herself unable to speak. When Maya and her father do find each other, he is less than thrilled she has fallen in love with a Hindu, except Maya is not the meek girl she was before their trip and is now willing to challenge him on his beliefs. I love the historical aspect and the contrasting worlds for Maya as she goes from Canada to India, feeling like a foreigner in both places. Love helps her feel like she has a place to belong, but her father is determined she should not make the same mistakes he did by marrying outside his religion. And the environment she was raised in will inform her decisions about who she falls in love with.


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Karma by Cathy Ostlere


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