Author: Amita Trasi
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: 30th June 2015
Book Source: Bloomhill Books & NetGalley
Synopsis: India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old girl from the lower caste Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes has come of age to fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. In an attempt to escape this legacy that binds her, Mukta is transported to a foster family in Bombay. There she discovers a friend in the high spirited eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to a different world—ice cream and sweets, poems and stories, and a friendship the likes of which she has never experienced before. As time goes by, their bond grows to be as strong as that between sisters. In 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room.
Eleven years later, Tara who blames herself for what happened, embarks on an emotional journey to search for the kidnapped Mukta only to uncover long buried secrets in her own family.
Moving from a remote village in India to the bustling metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, amidst the brutal world of human trafficking, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and redemption—which ultimately withstands the true test of time.
I'm having trouble putting my very mixed feelings about The Color of our Sky into words so this may not be the most coherent of reviews. Overwhelming sadness, rage, hopelessness.
We are dropped straight into the caste system of India and introduced to Mukta, born lower caste, the daughter of a temple prostitute and destined to the same fate, sold at the tender age of ten. *truth* I wanted to hurt the grandmother that sold her.
Whilst the Devadasi tradition was deemed illegal in 1988, it's still practiced in parts today. It's almost impossible to comprehend a tradition such as this, a society that allows it, and it was really difficult to read.
The story is told in alternating chapters from Mukta and Tara. Mukta's broke my heart.
I didn't really care for Tara. I found her disingenuous and undeserving of Mukta's loyalty but I'm probably in the minority on that count. I also had trouble coming to grips with Tara's father ... as kindly and 'progressive' as he was, as much as he helped, he still couldn't see Mukta treated equally. One of Tara's musings about America stayed with me.
What I always found strange was the affection people placed in pets. It was more than we ever placed in Mukta.
Just when you feel it's a losing battle against apathy and corruption, there are glimmers of light with the agency and rescue centers' work. I hope this is a light that exists for the real Mukta's in captivity.
In the author's notes Amita Trasi states that although the village of Ganipur is fictional, "there are similar villages in the area that practice the Devdasi traditions and force young girls into the prostitution trade. The tradition of temple prostitution is especially prevalent in the poorer sections of society."
The Color of our Sky is both heart-achingly beautiful and excruciatingly painful and whilst there's hope I wouldn't call the book hopeful, more a tribute to resilience.
Cover: just beautiful