The Color of Our Sky

In her debut novel, Amita Trasi addresses poverty, human trafficking and the power of true friendship through a story of searching and self-discovery.

In early 1990s Mumbai, two little girls from very different worlds are thrown together and form a deep bond. Quiet Mukta, a low-caste girl born to a destiny of temple prostitution, is rescued from her fate at age 10 by an upper-middle class foster family with an eight-year-old daughter, Tara. Although Tara's parents treat Mukta like a favored servant, their daughter treats her like a sister and helps her learn to read. But one night in 1993, a man kidnaps Mukta from the room where she and Tara lie sleeping.

Eventually, Tara and her family immigrate to the United States, where Tara's father commits suicide in 2004. She learns afterward that he believed Mukta was alive. Despite the enormity of the task, she returns to Mumbai in search of her foster sister, aided by a former street boy from her past who now runs a nonprofit. In alternating flashback chapters, Mukta reveals the truth of her disappearance to the reader in heartrending detail.

While Tara's narrative sometimes feels like an afterthought to Mukta's more compelling and dramatic history, Trasi breathes astounding complexity into both main characters, avoiding a simple victim/rescuer relationship. Themes of remorse, social taboos and family weave together into a surprising and affecting climax. The Color of Our Sky portrays India as a complicated society where tradition sometimes wars with human rights. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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