She Writes Press October 14, 2014
Audio book narrated by Meetu Chilana
Shortlisted for the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing
Shortlisted for a 2015 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction
For agent/rights inquiries:
April Eberhardt: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is 1554 in the desert of Rajasthan, and a new Mughal emperor is expanding his territory. On a rare night of rain, a daughter, Adhira, is born to a family of Hindu temple dancers. Fearing a bleak future, her father―against his wife and sons’ protests―puts his faith in tradition and in his last child for each to save the other: he insists Adhira “marry” the temple deity and give herself to a wealthy patron. But after one terrible evening, she makes a bold choice that carries her family’s story and their dance to a startling new beginning. Told from the perspective of this exquisite dancer and filled with the sounds, sights and flavors of the Indian desert, Faint Promise of Rain is the story of a family and a girl caught between art, duty, and fear in a changing world.
Praise for FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN
FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN is a gorgeous book, a story that is at once spare and lush, wrenching and restoring. The characters are so fully realized, so keenly nuanced, that they linger with you long after the last page, like the sweet smell of a recent storm.
~Bret Anthony Johnston, Director of Creative Writing, Harvard University
First time novelist Duva describes the sacred dances so vividly that the reader can almost hear the dancers’ feet hitting the floor and the tinkling of ankle bells. Historical fiction readers with an interest in non-Western cultures will find much to treasure in this evocative journey to the Indian desert.
Set in sixteenth-century India, Duva’s debut tells the story of a devout Hindu family struggling to make the right decision for their youngest daughter. When Adhira is born, her father, Gandar, a temple dancer,decrees she will be a devadasi, a dancer bound to the temple and wed to Lord Krishna. But her mother,Girija, longs for a different fate for Adhira than a life of dance and sexual servitude to a wealthy patron. Girija is secretly proud of her eldest daughter, Padmini, who defied her father to marry a wealthy man. The eldest son, Mahendra, has also chosen a different path by joining a roving band of marauders in the hopes of becoming a warrior like his mother’s ancestors. The couple’s younger son, Hari Dev, is disabled and unable to dance, and therefore is of little interest to his father. As the family’s fortunes decline due to dwindling resources, several realizations and a heartbreaking tragedy force them to seek out a new future for Adhira. A vividly rendered portrait of a bygone era.
Breathtaking and vivid, FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN transports us to 16th century India into a world we rarely see, where characters confront brutal realities not unlike our own. Here we witness the fragility of human desires, the precariousness of faith, and the possibility of redemption. Anjali Mitter Duva writes with the skill and grace of a dancer, spinning out her story slowly until it crescendos like the deafening sound of bells to a startling end. And a new beginning.
~Valarie Kaur, Interfaith Leader, Filmmaker, and Activist
Powerful and beautiful, Anjali Mitter Duva’s FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN deftly balances faith and passion, fear and hope, destiny and will. Duva’s expert eye takes us to 16th century India where dance calls forth the divine and unforgettable characters give us ‘memories of things to come.’ Past, present, and future all overlap in a perfect timeless story.
~Marjan Kamali, author of Together Tea
FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN gives an atmospheric, compassionate look into the hidden world of a temple dancer’s family. Anjali Mitter Duva had me spellbound throughout this suspenseful coming of age novel that delivers a rich, satisfying ending.
~Sujata Massey, author of The Sleeping Dictionary
A compelling story of loss and valor that takes readers on an unexpected journey to the secret world of temple dancers in ancient India.
~Shona Patel, author of Teatime for the Firefly
About the author
Anjali Mitter Duva is a writer and educator who grew up in France and has family roots in Calcutta, India. Her first novel, FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN, was shortlisted for the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. She is a co-founder of Chhandika, an organization that teaches and presents India’s classical storytelling kathak dance. She is a frequent speaker and performer at schools, universities, literary events and cultural institutions including, most recently, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. After completing her Baccalauréat at the Lycée International de St. Germain-en-Laye, Anjali continued her education at Brown University and MIT. She lives near Boston with her husband and two daughters, and runs a children’s book club as well as the Arlington Author Salon. She is currently at work on her second novel, set in 19th century Lucknow, India.
High res author photos
(color photo by Kobo Writing Life/Michael Benabib; black & white by Penny Lennox)
Author dance photo: