'Books can teach you things, can take you to places you couldn't possibly go otherwise. And they are the great equaliser. Anyone can learn to read.'
I've just finished reading Dancing to the Flute, a novel which was kindly sent to me by Alma Books. By pure coincidence, I realised the other day that this time last year, I was in India. And being absorbed by Dancing to the Flute took me right back to the bright colours and the hot, dry smells of spice and incense that fills the crowded streets.
Set in rural India, the story is focussed on Kalu, a street boy with a special musical talent that gets him noticed by a healer passing through the village. Following his development as a musician and the lives of him and his best friends, the novel is a touching story of friendship and love. Using the Indian raag, (a melodic mode in Indian classical music) as a theme, each part of the novel mimics its rhythm.. starting slowly and gathering in momentum. It's one of those books that instantly wraps you up, and is easy enough to get lost in. The characters are well-developed and endearing, especially the adorable Malti. I don't want to go into too much detail or spoil the story but I thought her development as a character in particular is very inspiring.
If you're a UK reader and you're interested in reading Dancing to the Flute, Alma Books is currently running a competition to win 3 sets of books. All you need to do is follow @AlmaBooks on Twitter and tweet about the competition. It's open until Thurs 28th March, so get tweeting!