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Synopsis

People of ShivaEncounters in Indiaby Frances LettersJoy, wonder, hilarity, love, anger, terror… The highs and lows of travel in 1960s India brought the full tide of human emotions flooding over this young Australian. ‘The first impression, and one that is sustained to the last page of People of Shiva, is that Frances Letters is a unique and extraordinary person.‘It is not an impression she is at any pains to give. She simply tells how she spent [a year] in India at the poverty level, and does it with fine writing and self-accepting honesty…‘She has a true egalitarianism, a poet’s eye, a social psychologist’s ear, and a degree of selflessness that would do credit to any saddhu, any searcher for spiritual truth.’ The Australian‘Frances Letters is one of those rare travellers who can make us see a whole country in the grains of its daily sand, the inner life of a people in their simplest outward acts.‘She has written a most uncommon book about India… absorbing and adventurous stories [told with] intelligent understanding. It’s a book which is difficult to put down...’ The Sydney Morning Herald‘Miss Letters is prepared to live rough, travel light, think hard. The human experiences she accumulated at ground level were authentic, illuminating… Her shrewd observation, her gift of description, and her warm humanity make this book most enjoyable.’ The Times Literary Supplement‘It would be a pity if this book by an Australian woman traveller were lost in the throng; it is not just another bird’s-eye view of Indian squalor and enigmas.’ The Observer ‘This is one of the most arresting books I have read on that fearsome and deeply troubled country... In some areas of sheer powerful description she surpasses [VS] Naipaul… Hers is a very moving and personal experience. A compelling journey, compellingly told.’ Nation Review ‘Lyrical, exasperated, always full of wonder and concern for humanity, [the book] forces us to re-examine our preconceptions of a nation whose future could shape the world’s.’ Country Life

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