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Dear Anubha Mehta:I heard you speak last year on the panel on word-on-the-street. The way you spoke and the clarity of your thoughts –inspired me to buy your book at the book-signing that followed and you wrote a very warm message for me.Well, I have finally finished reading Peacock in the Snow. I needed some time to let it sit with me.Peacock in the Snow is a haunting, penetrating, and gripping book. It moved me to re-think a lot of things about people around me.I picked up the book and couldn't stop. After a full day of work, all I could look forward to reading what happened next. The story grew on me – deeply, every day. But at first, I was intimidated by it. Just as I felt I had figured out the plot, there was a surprise waiting on the next page.Your story has a touch of the classics but with a modern twist.Have you ever considered converting it for the screen? It is a very visual story and I am sure it would become a great TV serial!This book took me away to another world, away from the terrible news of the pandemic this year. I started living in the story. I felt I was Maya. I felt her pain, her optimism, her wins, her heartbreak, and undying love, her fear and courage, and her excitement. Whew!But how could that be? I am a white woman who has never traveled to the east-?So I searched and found the secret. You are a master story-teller. Your narrative connects with diverse readers with one thing or the other that they can relate to. The top-level reads like a fun, easy, thriller. But the story has a deeper universal message.So, was it just me?So I took your book to my book club.We are 15 members and we meet once a quarter with on selected reading.We selected this as our book for the last quarter. My book club convened last week. And this is what they had to say:The book club members were intrigued by the story of Maya in the East. Its visual text pulled them in. They wanted to know more about the mansion and Maya's life there.Each of THREE parts of the book reflected Maya's journey as she grew up through each page but retained some of her original vibrance as a person.We debated for some time wondering that if this story was autobiographical and if the author herself reflects Maya? We wouldn’t know till we meet you.The book club members loved your characters, including the difficult Veer. We loved the way you brought closure to many things- from part one to the last part- connecting small details.And yet some of the mysteries were left to our imagination, unsolved, with us craving for more.The second part you wrote from a newcomer's perspective, but it was different from the immigration victim approach. It was more about adventure, personal heartbreak, and optimism.How ironic – that Maya and Veer find happiness and acceptance in a new land amongst strangers, rather than in their own community.We especially loved the passage of time - from the haunting grandmother and her 1940’s era to Maya’s life in North America including her daughter.Only one book club member has traveled east, and that too not to India, so we all really enjoyed the comparisons that you made. I, for one, shall never look at a newcomer in the same light again.Thank you Anubha for this beautiful gift and we cannot wait to read your next book.Stay well.Michelle.
Hi Anubha. It was truly an honor meeting you at the Oakville Literary poetry & prose club. Your story line about Maya is astonishing. I cannot wait to actually take a read of the book. Awaiting my copy from Amazon. Just thinking about the olden days of India just resonated with me. I feel that I'm am old soul of that era. The story is so enticing enough to be one with the book and put myself is Maya's shoes and go on this journey with her through her adventures. Thank you for spending your time with us at the club. Much humbled.I have been inspired. I hope to write like you one day with exceptional phrases and just amazing play of words. The literature is striking and beautiful in it's own way.Wishing you the very best of luck on your journey.Sincerely,Jennifer Raposo
A lovely first book. I was captivated by the story, the sadness of it and the longing for freedom.
I liked the way of moving on inspite of all concerns and there is always a curiosity to know what next in the Novel. My congratulations and best wishes to Anubha for next Novel.
Peacock in the Snow is a marvel. A one of its kind book. It is a book that is unlike any written before. It captures several facets of society that are usually not commented on; and in that too, the writer and artist in Anubha Mehta shines.
Just the Thing: Books to go with those luxury goodsNovember 30, 2018Because it's haute to be well-read, your luxury gift will pair elegantly with our two picks for both the arty giftee and the loved one who pronounces it "dahling."Peacock in the Snow by Anubha Mehta (Inanna Publications)What’s more luxurious than moving into a mansion? The protagonist of Anubha Mehta’s debut novel Peacock in the Snow does just that when she leaves behind a humble life to marry her high-school sweetheart, a man who happens to come from a wealthy established Indian family. The lavish setting will put your fancy giftee in a decadent mood before whisking them into a powerful, genre-bending thriller of a story (featuring ghosts!) that speaks to privilege, the immigrant experience, cultural traditions, and womanhood. And if the thrills prove a little too exciting, your extravagant gift will be the perfect treat to console.All Lit Up is managed by The Literary Press Group, an association of 60 independently-owned and -operated Canadian literary publishers.Read in full here: https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2018/Just-the-Thing-Books-to-go-with-those-luxury-goods?fbclid=IwAR0C0yWIRFWYbagCGy6XyUuls-r4AXqJVd1loQ0Z_cFWO8JOOhFEym3GbGM
Anubha Mehta's debut novel Peacock in the Snow (Inanna Publications) flips the script on most contemporary immigrant narratives: her protagonist family is not fleeing persecution or poverty, but redefining themselves in Canada all the same after having lost the privileges they enjoyed in their home country. As main character Maya grows out of her life's advantages, she begins to experience real freedom and happiness.Why you need to read this now:Peacock in the Snow lifts the veil on immigrant life in contemporary Canada with a difference. The novel evokes today’s changing Canadian cultural landscape to bear witness to a new generation of newcomers from non-Western societies who are educated, affluent, and less tolerant of the country’s structural challenges and tendency to marginalize and stereotype new immigrants. In 2016-2017, 33% of the Canadian population was South Asian, with a whopping 400,000 settling each year in the greater Toronto area. This book is about the needs and aspirations of one such family.Peacock in the Snow looks with fresh eyes on an immigrant family that doesn’t need Canada as a new home for any economic, social or political reason, or due to hardship, fleeing war, poverty, or persecution. The trade-offs for this family are painful: relegating their social status to a relatively more equalizing society, losing their original homeland’s privileges and connections.Reworking the concept of privilege is a powerful theme in Peacock in the Snow, mirroring the author’s journey from east to west. Privilege can only be decolonized when abstracted from wealth, gender, and class and its associated subjugations. The protagonist Maya’s courage and peace came, not from her advantageous social placement but, rather, from her renunciation of it. Until Maya steps away from her privilege, she is unable to find freedom and happiness. She is tired of handed-down definitions of womanhood and is compelled to be assertive in unprecedented ways, ways that have not been taught. Her inadequacies are no longer seen as weaknesses but an opportunity to grow, and her fear is accompanied with courage to risk everything for her conviction. Her hope is for a better tomorrow while validating similar struggles that people face in today’s conflicted world of diverse beliefs, ethnicities, cultures, and expectations.Peacock in the Snow also confronts the "other side" of issues and -isms. When women become gatekeepers of patriarchy, whether benevolently or with hostility, or when sons are affected by male expectations and constructions of masculinity and are trapped within sexism’s expectations to live, act, or behave in pre-ordained ways, they too sacrifice their dreams.The book also appeals to the other side of the globe, to satisfy curiosities about Canada and what it looks like from the eyes of a new family’s arrival – new cultures and landscapes, starkness and beauty, and experiences of hardship and freedom.And, of course, for those who like a little mystery, magic, and intrigue in their CanLit mix, Peacock in the Snow is jam-packed with dark family secrets, a brutal ancestral murder, and the protagonists’ relentless pursuit by malicious spirits.Peacock in the Snow is so much more than an examination of gender, class, and the lives of immigrants; the novel is, as David Siegel suggests, "a thrilling page-turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat." It is "a highly entertaining novel that also says much about contemporary Canadian society."X plus Y:Peacock in the Snow evokes the sensitive treatment of the clash between family and cultural tradition in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, set against the ominous spectre of destiny that manifests in Janine Chang’s Three Souls.
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Our thanks to Anubha Mehta for giving us this deep look at her new novel, and to Renee at Inanna for making the connection. You can order Peacock in the Snow from All Lit Up now.All Lit Up is managed by The Literary Press Group, an association of 60 independently-owned and -operated Canadian literary publishers. Read the full Review here: https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2018/First-Fiction-Friday-Peacock-in-the-Snow
CONGRATULATIONS ANUBHA !!What a huge accomplishment. I did not respond right away - I wanted to let it simmer in my head for a bit.The novel does have an epic sweep spanning generations, countries and cultures.The story line is very compelling with interesting characters from various walks of life. Along with Maya, the reader would get exposed to the pain of partition, workplace politics, mystic healing, and so on.The setting of the novel (India and Canada) makes it very personal and touches upon the universal immigrant experience that we can all relate to.Maya comes across as a strong yet sensitive person open to new experiences and making the most of what life has to offer. While she is committed to her familial relationships, she is also open to the possibility of exploring new connections. There are many characters that Maya interacts with - I wonder if there are one or two minor characters that you are partial to. Also, I wonder how big a role the sceondary characters (Maya's immediate family) play in the plot and their character development.I suppose I will have to finish the book to find out :)Once again, Congratulations
What a special book. Took a long haul flight and carried my copy of “Peacock in the snow” as my read. I rarely get time to read but this book had intrigued me enough to pick up a copy. And intriguing it indeed is. What a story. Romance, love, mystery, suspense, paranormal all weaves into one book which is so hard to put down. I infact read 80 percent of the book on my flight and read the rest the every first evening after sleeping off for a few hours. You live through Maya and feel her pain, love, helplessness and fear. Gayatri is so intriguing as a personality. You feel the ache between her and Sachin and what a phenomenal end.This book grips you from the word go and does not let you go till the end. The struggles of new immigrants so well etched is something that we all can relate to. I absolutely loved the simplistic way of expression that Anubha has used which immediately connects you to the book. Loved reading it. Highly recommend it. Thanks Anubha for this wonderful experience and more power to you and your writing.
"Peacock in the Snow" is a lovely title that evokes memories of the first time I moved to Canada, just like the protagonist of Anubha's story. Living Maya's experience through her book was a fascinating journey...at times mysterious, at times romantic and at times agitating. I finished the book in one weekend - it is seriously un-putdownable.Anubha, you must be a poet at heart. The language and style is poetic although the book is a work of prose.Some elements of the story cross borders and eras, and I found this to be the most enchanting aspect of how you have woven Maya's varied experiences together. Doves from the past, making an appearance at different places and in different lifetimes reminded me of a personal experience - as a child I spent my summers at my grandparents' house in Jaipur. There were tree lined streets where they lived with blazing red Gulmohars planted on one side and dreamy yellow Amaltaash on the other. I was totally mesmerized by the yellow weeping willow type flower bunches of the Amaltaash and imagined that I will someday have one such tree wherever I live. Years passed and I moved to Canada... and while I have never seen Amaltaash here, my street adorned with yellow-golden maple trees looks exactly the same in autumn. I'm having the same experience that I sought but in a different country, time and format. The truest desires of our hearts always find us...in life, just as in your book.Keep dreaming, keep writing.