FOUR STEPS FROM
PARADISE is a sweeping sage of family and honour, love and duty
set in an enchanted garden - and in the cruel world to which its
children are exiled.
Krishna Naidu, the youngest son of a proud and powerful family,
is eight years old on the day in 1950 when his perfect world first
begins to die. With his older sisters Anjali and Kaveri and his
brother Jagan, he lives in a huge house on his grandfather's vast
estate. Hidden in the heart of Madras, its walls conceal a square
mile of gardens and lawns, a village for the servants, a temple,
all part of the inheritance promised to the four children. His
cousins live there, his aunts and uncles, squabbling amiably under
the benevolent rule of his grandfather and grandmother.
Only Krishna's father stands apart from this close-knit world,
fatally seduced by his years at Oxford and continually dreaming
of the return, with his children, to his beloved England. And
Krishna's long dead mother is less than a memory, kept alive for
him by only his sisters' loving tales.
The Mss Victoria Green comes into their lives. At first she is
just a governess, resisted passionately by Anjali who has no wish
to be moulded into the image of an Englishwoman, welcomed shyly
by Kaveri who seeks the love she seems to offer. Soon Victoria
is their stepmother. And she moves them from their grandfather's
crowded, loving home to isolate them in an English style bungalow
where new, western ideas displace the children's Indian culture.
But the final betrayal has only begun.
The bittersweet story of the Naidu's family's decline and fall
set against a background of the all-encompassing changes that
have swept over India in the forty years it spans. Enthralling
and enchanting, it is Timer Murari's masterwork.
& Stougton; Germany- Baste Lubbe; India - Penguin.