Based on a remarkable true story.
Seven-year-old Chellamuthu’s life is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in India, sold to a Christian orphanage, and then adopted by an unsuspecting couple in the United States. It takes months before the boy can speak enough English to tell his parents that he already has a family back in India. Horrified, they try their best to track down his Indian family, but all avenues lead to dead ends.
Meanwhile, they simply love him, change his name to Taj, enroll him in school, make him part of their family—and his story might have ended there had it not been for the pestering questions in his head: Who am I? Why was I taken? How do I get home?
More than a decade later, Taj meets Priya, a girl from southern India with surprising ties to his past. Is she the key to unveil the secrets of his childhood or is it too late? And if he does make it back to India, how will he find his family with so few clues?
From the best-selling author of The Rent Collector, this is a deeply moving and gripping journey of discovering one’s self and the unbreakable family bonds that connect us forever.
The story of Chellamuthu is raw and brutal. Kidnapped from his family and then shipped out to a family in a country so far removed from his is heartbreaking to say the least. Taj never fully fits in anywhere and it gets him agitated, not fully belonging in the US but also not feeling like a proper Indian should. As he grows and starts to forget his past things start to change when he spends two semesters at a university in London. His surrogate family is Indian and as he navigates their world through culture and food memories slowly come back in flashes that he tries to remember but are just out of his reach.
Through many coincidences he meets Priya, his future wife and through her, the means to get back to India to try and find the family he was ripped away from.
This book is about filling a deep aching hole, knowing that something is missing but unable to fully grasp just what is missing. The need to connect with family roots, and to find where he fits in and belongs. It was a heartbreaking read one of loss and struggle but an incredible story from start to finish.
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.