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A poignant novel about the triumph of the human spirit over poverty’s privations and predicaments Ravi, the son of a peasant, joins in the general exodus away from destitution. The indifferent and harsh streets of the city lead him to the underworld of petty criminals. A chance misdeed acquaints him with Apu, a tailor. Ravi begins working as Apu’s apprentice, and when he falls in love with Nalini, Apu’s daughter, he joins the already crowded household. Apu dies, and Ravi perseveres with the respectable life, facing the problems of shortage of food, illness, dwindling customers. After the death of his son, he reverts to the life of a petty criminal, and is inexorably drawn towards a dangerous climax. In A Handful of Rice, Kamala Markandaya, best-selling author of Nectar in a Sieve, once again recreates the life of the poor with compassion and respect, presenting an overwhelmingly real book.

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