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The Earthspinner by Anuradha Roy | Book review

Lauded as a writer of great subtlety and intelligence, Anuradha Roy writes poetic and elegant prose creating characters that belong to the past as well as our worlds today. Starting with her debut book, we have been reading and reviewing her works:

Her latest book brings us another story about the fragile state of our lives and freedom of a civilized word when a conflict arises between creativity of an artist and the petty violence of a mob directed against them.

Book Title : The Earthspinner
Author :
Published by : Mountain Leopard Press Hachette India ( 23 September 2022)
# of Pages : 232 (Paperback) 176; 1606 KB (Kindle EBook) 220 (Hardcover) 399 Minutes (Audiobook)
# of Chapters : 7
Purchase Link(s) :

And here are my thoughts on this book for Team Thinkerviews.

Book Cover:

Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.

The Earthspinner by Anuradha Roy | Book Cover

The Earthspinner by Anuradha Roy | Book Cover

In this version, the cover page is dominated by pink color in the front elements while black is filling in the background. You see a horse puppet in pink-violet and some lines are illustrated to give it an effect of spinning.

The Earthspinner by Anuradha Roy | Book Cover

The Earthspinner by Anuradha Roy | Book Cover

This version of cover page is simple. You can see a black illustration in greenish cyan background. Serpents like threads are coming out of the bookish illustration.

Overall, not so appealing but moderately good cover pages.


Sarayu – Sara – is in England now, on a scholarship that supports her studying in this unfamiliar land – faraway from her mother and sister. Still grieving for her lost father, and seeking the familiar, she ends up in the pottery workshop as an escape. Here, she can lose herself into familiar art of spinning clay without having to converse with strangers.

And through her diary entries we see the world where she grew up – going to school in an autorickshaw driven by Elango. Elango who is a national artist, living a loose-ended existence in Kummarapet, where her father and grandfather and all ancestors he could think of, made a living out of pottery. Known for his Terracotta pots and urns that he supplies to hotels.

And then a horse comes to him in a dream, with fire contained within and rising up from primordial waters. And Zohra comes in his life, bringing forbidden love. In his artist’s mind, the two are combined and he sees the creation of horse as the pathway leading to rest of his life. Elango also recovers a lost puppy from woods and names him Chinna.

Despite of his family’s objections and protests from neighborhood, Chinna stays on. In a similar way, love blooms between Elango and Zohra and as is the nature of  it, cannot stay hidden from his neighbourhood either. After months of dreaming and working, Elango brings her horse to life, a majestic Terracota statue that admires awe and praise.

But soon it is seen as an act of desecration and destroyed. Elango and Zohra have to flee the town and the story comes back full circle only when he meets Sara by chance in England. Where will the loose threads of their lives take them from here?

Views and Reviews:

The author plunges into the world of pottery workshop in a cold, alien land as we start, confronted with a character living a life so outside Sara’s imagination. To some extent, Karin serves as a foil to Sara’s easygoing existence as someone whose life is just as strictly defined and controlled by family and society that she belongs to and whose expectations she has no hope to outrun.

The radio she had turned on played a song that urged everyone to always take the weather with them, but I can’t see how that is possible if a single alien presence can alter a place this way.

There is grief and loss inside Sara, more a sense of confusion rather than actively controlled. There is guilt, as there always is, of a child being used as pawn by the adults playing for their gains and advantages. And without meaning to, she has been running away from it. And now as she is faced with adulthood in a place without familiar faces, she also understands the loss that foretells coming of age and loss of home:

These days, when letters come from home with news that no longer includes me, I feel as if I’m on a moving train and they are on another one traveling alongside, so that I catch a glimpse them and for a moment, despite the noise, nothing moves, we look at each other from our separate windows. And then the storm passes and I am alone again, going further and further away from them.

The author builds the life of Sara, her family, and the little community around them through her diary entries. A crime on the dark stretch of highway, that tears a puppy away from her family and instead brings Chinna into the world of Kummarapet. The little world of Moti Block, the land baron Tatha, Elango and his family, Sara and her school friends, Sara’s frail father, her journalist mother, her sister, Zohra and her blind calligrapher grandfather. And then within days of madness, all of this is destroyed, pieces of these lives scattered all over the world, never to be the same.

Crimes become private sorrows s time leaches away their public significance, but surely they cannot go unpunished?

Time does not heal all wounds. Such wound gnaws you hollow from inside like termites deep in the leg of a chair which collapses when you sit on it though it looked whole and new.

All through the book, the author brings to life an artist’s creative process. How once something takes a root an artist’s mind, it takes a life of its own, and no matter how destructive it can become on the way, it cannot be ignored. Kabir’s poetry on a Terracota horse that feels as if it naturally belongs there:

Ride your wild runaway mind

All the way to heaven

Through the earth spinners of this world, we see and remember that:

Change was the work of earth spinning, spinning as it always had.


An enjoyable story of the past, told with the modern sensibility, that combines the love of theatre and the excitement of venturing into unknowns.

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 7.5 stars out of 10.

Quick Purchase Links:

Over To You:

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