In the Shadow of Crows

Manners, David Charles

  12 Reviews

David and Bindra are on disparate journeys: David is English, searching for extended family on the Indian sub-continent, while Bindra, a leprosy sufferer, is forced to leave her home in the Himalayan foothills. One from a privileged background, the other from poverty and deprivation but when their paths converge an extraordinary friendship is forged.

From spiritual beliefs and cultural practices, to chronic suffering and misery and the celebration of humanity, this is India in all her magnificence and squalor.

An insightful and memorable read.

Comments from Groups

We found this a deeply moving book. The intertwining stories, linked in India, taught us a lot - about people's capacity for endurance and the enlightened beliefs which enabled them to cope with terrible circumstances. The author's fascinating life gave balance to this very interesting book, which was well discussed. Coromandel 002

We were all very taken with this book, though some members struggled to finish it in time. A book with a lot of depth to it, and fascinating insights - we also found the format of novel/autobiography was very unusual. We generally liked the structure with the back-and -forth between the two stories, feeling it kept our interest and ensured we noticed the parallels in the two lives. The varying languages and cultures were a little hard to follow, but didn't seem to detract from our pleasure in the book. What a country India is! Owaka 001

While 2 people in the group found this too grim to continue with, most of us found it a beautifully written depiction of the "terrible beauty" of India. The author describes a land of extremes: wealth and poverty, kindness and cunning, brutality and gentleness. We were captivated by the charcter of Bindra with her great strength and wisdom. Lower Hutt 004

Most members thought they would not enjoy this when they started, but were most enthusiastic by the end. Great discussion. Aria 001

If you like reading about other cultures this is a good book, but we thought it may put people off travelling to India! We think that reading the notes beforehand would help make more sense of the book, and give a better understanding of things that happened. Dunedin 080

We all enjoyed this book. So beautifully written, and such a positive outlook. Quite inspiring. Gisborne 001

Good discussion. We liked the writing style but thought it did not at all fit with the character, as her thoughts were too advanced for a seven year old. It might have been better written in the third person. Lower Hutt 015



RUSS 004
A wonderful book to read, we all enjoyed it as it was so well-written.
A beautifully written, inspirational book which makes one look anew at one's values and approach to life. The discussion was wide ranging.
Discussion was lively and the book was enjoyed by all.
A good read, although 1 member didn't like how it was written. Leprosy is a disease we wouldn't wish on anyone, and Bindra was an amazing 'gutsy' woman, and caring. David was always trying to find something for himself in India - he finally succeeded.
Well worth the read, a good book for BDS. How 'poor' is poor Or how 'poor' can poor get Bindra is profound. The author has such a gift for description.
Disturbing book; discussion on over-population.
A very mixed response to this - some loved it and others struggled with the two stories. Although the insight into Indian culture was appreciated.
CHCH 312
Although all the group read this book, many found the style of writing ( 1st then 3rd person narrative) frustrating. Certainly gave us a taste of India and its complexities.
Great story.
Portrays a very different perspective on life from our Western, material viewpoint. Despite the raw and cruel treatment of people, there was a beauty and serenity. The storyline serves as a vehicle to expound on the foundational tenets of the Hindu religion. Some found the format of switching quickly through the 2 alternate storylines frustrating. Some found the physically disempowered widow's life too frustrating and painful. Enlightened us on issues of leprosy.
Two wonderful stories beautifully interwoven. Some of the group didn't like the descriptions of poverty, filth, corruption and put them off visiting India. Having been to India and Nepal, the stories brought back memories of this amazing country. Wonderful descriptions, beautifully written.
TAUR 057
Another book that polarised people regarding how much they liked it, with reactions ranging from "My favourite (BDS) book so far" to " I really disliked it". Most agreed that it wasn't well-written - often far too florid - could have been better edited. We all found it very interesting though, especially learning about Bindra's philosophy/religion. It provoked the most discussion this group has had about one book.