India, 1955: as the scars of Partition are just beginning to heal, seventeen-year-old Meera sits enraptured on the balcony of a college auditorium in Delhi. In the spotlight is Dev, singing a song so infused with passion that it arouses in her the first flush of erotic longing. She wonders if she can steal him away from Roopa, her older, more beautiful sister. When Meera's reverie comes true, it does not lead to the fairy-tale marriage she imagined. Dev's family is steeped in the very kind of orthodoxy her father has spent his life railing against. Meera has no choice but to obey her in-laws, tolerate Dev's drunken night-time fumblings, even observe the most arduous of Hindu fasts for his longevity. She must also fend off Dev's brother, Arya, whose right-wing zeal and lascivious gaze she finds repellent. Her only solace is in her sister-in-law Sandhya, with whom she comes to share a tenderness that is as heartbreaking as it is fleeting. A move to Bombay, so that Dev can chase his dream of success as a Bollywood singer, seems at first like a fresh start, but soon that dream - and their marriage - turns to ashes. It is only when their son is born that things change.
For the first time, Meera feels fulfilled. She is finally ready to shape her own destiny, to take control of her world. A sweeping epic that traces the fortunes of a family in the aftermath of Indian independence, The Age of Shiva is the powerful story of an ancient society in transition and an extraordinary portrait of maternal love.
Manil Suri was born in Bombay in 1959 and is a professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland. His first novel, The Death of Vishnu, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, nominated for the PEN Faulkner Award, the LA Times Book Award and the WH Smith Book Award. It won the Barnes & Noble 2001 Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction. Manil Suri was an inaugural winner of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers.