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'I very much admired the strength and control with which the author keeps her complex story going, and at the same time keeps it clear, and true to the spirit of India' - Penelope Fitzgerald'Brilliantly believable' - Times Literary Supplement'No doubt the author will be compared to Arundhati Roy and it is true that, in their capacity to engage with the epic story, they have some similarities. Nevertheless, Shauna Singh Baldwin is her own master' - The Times"Baldwin has never been accused of lacking ambition in her novels, and it's a charge unlikely to be levelled this time either. The Selector of Souls strides boldly through the minefields of religion, political corruption, abortion, AIDS, caste and the Indo-Pakistani arms race along the way...a detailed, wrenching account of an entrenched cultural issue that, 20 years later, continues to make disturbing headlines...illuminating." - Toronto Star"The Selector of Souls neatly inverts the usual pattern of the immigrant novel. ...Although her outspokenness has made her controversial in the traditional society that produced her this author remains fiercely political. The fact that few want to talk about the epidemic of anti-female sex selection that is distorting Indian society is precisely why she does...After novels like The Selector of Souls, one doubts they will remain [silent] for long." - The Globe and Mail"Baldwin's prose is precise, illuminating and insightful as she explores cultural practices in India that ruin - and end - lives. [She] offers hope that attitudes are changing so more families will celebrate, rather then mourn, the birth of a girl." Ottawa Citizen
"Many South Asians can easily relate to the challenges faced by Damini and Anu ...has many different voices... discrimination against gender, race and class exists in various forms and across borders... 'The Selector of Souls raises burning questions... (and) disturbing issues of caste, contrasting religious beliefs and intolerance, abortion and political corruption." - CanIndia News"The Selector of Souls illustrates the profound frustration experienced by many women in India when it comes to not being allowed to make their own decisions about whom to marry and how to lead their lives." - Brandon Sun"Lyrical and lushly-detailed...explores with unblinking honesty the challenges women endure. . . The book is filled with dark humor, and the characters in The Selector of Souls become so real, it's difficult to leave them behind at the final page. Because Shauna Singh does not shy away from difficult situations, from horror or harsh realities, her vivid detail, polished, lyrical and sensual language, chronicles those realities and lures readers into a rich, multicultural world. This book must rank at the top of everyone's reading list. It illuminates the matters that foster confusion, misunderstandings, hurt feelings and physical pain between men and women, between people of various faiths and cultures, between the classes, between parents and children, between neighbors and friends. From its opening with Damini's haunting sacrifice to its very end, the book consistently surprises and keeps the reader gripped for what comes next. " - Sikhchic.com"The Selector of Souls is a bold and vivid dramatization of the charged choices shaping women's lives in 1990s India. Shauna Singh Baldwin has a gift for warm-hearted and incisive storytelling. This is a novel expansive in its vision and defiantly human in its embrace of the contradictions that animate us all." --Catherine Bush, author of The Rules of Engagement and Claire's Head
"A canvas of rich images, a cast of memorable characters with all of their strengths and --Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine B.
'The Selector Of Souls mainly examines the plight of Indian women through the choices forced on them by society and the pragmatic decisions and compromises that Damini and Anu have to make. It's a sobering novel, which doesn't hold out much hope for the future, but salutes the courage and perseverance of the women of India.' - The Herald --The Herald
The Selector of Soulsbegins with a scene that is terrifying, harrowing and yet strangely tender: we're in the mid ranges of the Himalayas as a young woman gives birth to her third child with the help of her mother, Damini. The birth brings no joy, just a horrible accounting, and the act that follows - the huge sacrifice made by Damini out of love of her daughter - haunts the novel. In Shauna Singh Baldwin's enthralling novel, two fascinating, strong-willed women must deal with the relentless logic forced upon them by survival: Damini, a Hindu midwife, and Anu, who flees an abusive marriage for the sanctuary of the Catholic church. When Sister Anu comes to Damini's home village to open a clinic, their paths cross, and each are certain they are doing what's best for women. What do health, justice, education and equality mean for women when India is marching toward prosperity, growth and becoming a nuclear power? If the baby girls and women around them are to survive, Damini and Anu must find creative ways to break with tradition and help this community change from within.
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