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Reviews of “The Silent Raga”

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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

February 2009

"If the massively praised novel-cum-film Slumdog Millonaire has you in an eastern state of mind, dig into another tale of sibling angst. Ameen Merchant’s novel book/9781553654056">The Silent Raga tells the story of two Brahmin sisters: A musical prodigy who runs away to marry a Muslim Bollywood actor, and the younger girl who stays behind. This impressive debut novel has been so popular in Merchant’s native India that it beat out Jackie Collins on The Hindu’s bestseller list."

Vitamin Daily, Feb 25, 2009
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

November 2008

The Silent Raga… is an exquisite blend of tradition and transition, exile and reconciliation, silence and eloquence, society and self, crisis and consciousness, where various stages of a raga’s performance in recital breathe life into the mellifluous flourish of evocative prose. …The Silent Raga eventually leaves readers in the refuge of an enchanting mistress, music.”

Canadian Literature, Nov 26, 2008
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

December 2007

“[Merchant] has a writer’s eye for colour and action, a writer’s ear for language and music, and a writer’s obsessive interest in the patterns of human behaviour.”

Quill & Quire, Dec 14, 2007
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

November 2007

“…what Merchant does well is create a sense of reality through description. He brings a market scene alive with his depiction of colours and fragrances.”

Winnipeg Free Press, Nov 18, 2007
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

November 2007

“This debut from Mumbai-born Ameen Merchant… offers a recognizable lyricism, unfolding a rich banquet for the senses and a sensitive tale of two middle-class sisters driven apart by the hidebound traditions of their Brahmin heritage. …We expect our novels of India to be kaleidoscopic and redolent, filled with scents and colours, the heady masala of cookery, the ever-present fecundity and decay of city life. Here, the kitchens and gardens, steaming streets and overheating bodies feel present to all the senses. Better, they’re fully integrated with the storytelling. Merchant never pauses to paint a backdrop; the richness comes to us always through characters and events.”

Globe and Mail, Nov 17, 2007
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

October 2007

“The details of family life, food, music, Bollywood movies and the texture of everything from saris to sunburnt grass are delicious in this lively first novel.”

More Magazine, Oct 15, 2007
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

October 2007

“…a richly painted tale, revealing the caged heart of an artist who longs to soar on the power of her music. …This is a gem of a novel, filled with brilliant imagery and an elegant style of writing. Readers will be filled with a sense of music playing, just a little out of hearing range. It's both a classical Indian raga and Bollywood soundtrack.”

Toronto Star, Oct 11, 2007
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

September 2007

“…a moving tale of family, tradition, loss and reconciliation. In prose that resembles the rhythms of an Indian raga Ameen Merchant captures the world of these Brahmin women, a world restricted by caste and cultural rules, but also teeming with colour, music and food.”

Delta Optimist, Sep 1, 2007
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The Silent Raga

The Silent Raga

September 2007

The Silent Raga… is a hugely entrancing tale of two sisters, Janaki and Mallika, who grow to adulthood within the willowy confines of a middle-class Brahmin family in Madras, India, in the early 1990’s. …The writing is occasionally daunting in introspection and nuance, but those instances are more than balanced by Merchant’s imagery. At such moments, Merchant’s words verge on pure poetry as uniquely evocative of India as the sound of the santoor, the hammered dulcimar.”

Canadian Immigrant, Sep 1, 2007
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