The book of shadows

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Viking, Jan 1, 1999 - Fiction - 232 pages
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ęThe avengers of my vanity have broken me, humbled me with these small depredations of skin and bone and tissue, leaving me less than I was.ę Scarred by her loveręs suicide and an acid attack that has left her permanently disfigured. Rachita Tiwari has sought refuge in a remote house in the Himalayan foothills. In this rambling house, built by a foolhardy missionary over a hundred years ago, she lives aloneęsave for the company of the ancient and mysterious manservant, Lohanijuępainting and repainting her nails a bright red, careful not to look into mirrors. As she retreats into herself, battling for her sanity and fearful of a world she no longer trusts, a different dimension claims her and the tremendous history of the house is played out before her. There is the vain fool, Captain Wolcott, and his tragically sensuous mistress, Dona Rosa, ęof the wandering heartę; the doomed lovers Marcus and Munro, disciples of Aleister Crowley, infamous dabbler in black magic; Father Benedictus, ęseeker of knowledgeę, at peace with himself and his God; and the all-knowing, sage crows. With and above them all is the resident ghost of the house, solitary and sad, at times merely an observer as the fantastical destinies unfold around him, and at times unable to remain detached. After a century of silence something compels him to speakęwords that the injured woman now inhabiting the house will hear; words that will give her back to herself.

Part ghost story, part erotic romance, The Book of Shadows is an ambitious book that investigates the nature of reality, love and faith. It is a work of startling originality by one of Indiaęs most daring and talented writers. ęOur kind is not nourished by the sun: it is the moon which gives us sustenance. We wax and wane with the moon, except when harnessed by a human energy, when the pull of the tides loses its grip. As dawn broke over the mountains, lighting up the still white presences of the snows, I fled to my refuge, my fated spot. This night of passion, my first, had initiated me into the sorrows of mankind; the unfaith, the terrible and tenuous link of love.ę

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