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The Elephant Chaser's Daughter

Narrated by: Deepti Gupta
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

The human drama captured in this memoir is nothing short of amazing - a young woman's struggle between the two worlds of her existence.

Saved by her grandmother from being killed at birth for being a female, and abandoned by her mother at a young age, Shilpa faces the formidable constraints placed on her by her family and the village elders.

The values with which she is being brought up in a school for poor children started by a philanthropist come in conflict with those of her family, tearing each other apart. Just when all seems settled, an unforeseen death under mysterious circumstances shatters whatever stability remains in her life.

Pulled in opposite directions, and torn between despair and dreams, Shilpa finally makes a choice for her escape. But is she strong enough to stand up to the people she loves, and pursue what she wants?

At its heart The Elephant Chaser's Daughter is about hope, when all seems lost. Written with raw honesty and grit, this is a deeply moving memoir of a young woman confronting her "untouchable" status in a caste-based society, and her aspirations for a good future.

©2017 Shilpa Raj and George Foundation Inc., New Jersey (P)2018 Tantor

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Beautiful, fascinating, heartwarming and breaking.

This beautifully written and expertly narrated true story of a young girl plucked from poorest Indian village life for a different and better future, delights and moves the reader by turns. The unique insight into village life from Shilpa, the first of her family to gain entry to University, is second to none. As featured on BBC iplayers "daughters of destiny" we also see in this book, the uplifting work of Dr George, in his giving an education to those otherwise destined to do the lowliest and toughest work and in giving a home to some that had none.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Well done to Shilpa Raj. I look forward to your next book when it comes.

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Very hard to find an answer

I struggled to get to the end of this very unhappy story and I remain as confused as the main character.

Are all families in thirld world India as dysfunctional as Shilpa's? Were any of the problems really addressed by parachuting Shilpa and a tiny number of others into an alien world?

I daresay the school's intentions were entirely honourable, but I'm not at all convinced that the experience will have made much difference to the sum total of Shilpa's lifelong happiness (or lack of it).