The Hero's Walk | Penguin Random House Canada

The Hero’s Walk

Publisher: Vintage Canada
After the release of Anita Rau Badami's critically acclaimed first novel, Tamarind Mem, it was evident a promising new talent had joined the Canadian literary community. Her dazzling literary follow-up is The Hero's Walk, a novel teeming with the author's trademark tumble of the haphazard beauty, wreckage and folly of ordinary lives. Set in the dusty seaside town of Toturpuram on the Bay of Bengal, The Hero's Walk traces the terrain of family and forgiveness through the lives of an exuberant cast of characters bewildered by the rapid pace of change in today's India. Each member of the Rao family pits his or her chance at personal fulfillment against the conventions of a crumbling caste and class system.

Anita Rau Badami explains that "The Hero's Walk is a novel about so many things: loss, disappointment, choices and the importance of coming to terms with yourself and the circumstances of your life without losing the dignity embedded in all of us. At one level it is about heroism - not the hero of the classic epic, those enormous god-sized heroes - but my fascination with the day-to-day heroes and the heroism that's needed to survive all the unexpected disasters and pitfalls of life."


It was dusk by the time they got a bus to the beach. They made their way to the same secluded spot at which they had scattered Maya's ashes. The tide was coming in, curling waves lapped against their feet, and seagulls swooped and pecked at drying seaweed left on the sand. Further down, pariah dogs leapt at an upturned...
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When Badami was doing research for the Nandana plot line she started by calling her local police stations. Her explanation that she was a novelist doing research was met with mistrust. She was warned to stop wasting police time. Next she tried the...

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"Engrossing…. Badami brilliantly brings to life a whole cast of [characters]…. The author masterfully captures the sights, smells and sounds of this lively world without overwhelming readers. A welcome, sly humor runs throughout…. This book demands to be read straight through…. "
The Washington Post

"A skilled writer can convey epic events through the lives of ordinary people. Badami's The Hero's Walk, which deals with the transmutations of a millennia-old culture, is an outstanding example of such skill."
—The Commonwealth Writers Prize judges

"The Hero’s Walk is beautifully crafted- rich and lush, though sometimes anthropological, distracting, even. It offers bittersweet epiphanies amidst life’s tragedies and showcases a novelist on the move."
—Bill Richardson, The Georgia Straight

"The Hero’s Walk is a wonderfully textured tale whose poignant events are imbued with truthfulness. Its sly wit and penetrating insights illuminate a bittersweet story which brings its reluctant characters close to redemption. It is a chronicle that echoes what Graham Greene once called the random shrapnel of human experience."
The London Free Press

"Sensitive, sensual and brilliantly imagined…a family story which will enrich and amuse you."
The Telegram

"She has an amazing knack for hauling together the beauty, mess, joy and folly of ordinary people’s lives."
The Hamilton Spectator

"The four-year wait for The Hero’s Walk was worth it. This is an unforgettable and heart- wrenching tale…."
The Ottawa Citizen

"One of the may strengths of this novel is how the author reaches deep into her characters, shares their surface and more profound thoughts and emotions, and conveys them to the reader."
The Telegram

"Vitriol, in all its ravishing, stomach-churning splendour, is the river upon which flows Anita Rau Badami’s second novel….."
The Citizen

"What a treat it is to read Anita Rau Badami…. The Hero’s Walk is a novel of a traditional, nearly anachronistic, stroytelling-as-transport kind; an escape, an entertainment — that mere but elusive thing most of us, after all, are seeking in good fiction…. After gaining fame with Tamarind Mem, Anita Rau Badami doesn’t disappoint with her new novel."
National Post

"[A] big-hearted and compulsively readable novel… that ends in a highly satisfying way…. [Badami is] a gifted observer of the human comedy."
The Toronto Star

"Badami willfully spurns her cleverest perceptions in The Hero’s Walk"
The Globe and Mail

"Her first novel was good, her second is marvellous…. Badami’s psychiological insight illuminates every scene [and] breathes authentic life into her characters…. Badami is a first-rate novelist. Read it."

"Badami writes unflinchingly about a man both disappointed and disappointing. In her capable hands Rao is … entirely human, and vividly rendered…. This is Badami’s talent for storytelling: she imbues every sentence with compassion…. her easy way with narrative weaves a rich and textured history, and she holds its various strands just taut enough…. Badami exercises control, playing out the consequences a little at a time, and then a little more. Badami may have made her name with Tamarind Mem, but it is The Hero’s Walk that will carry that name."
Quill & Quire (starred review)

"It runs only 350 pages but it is as satisfying as a story twice as long."
The Gazette