Summary / The Conch Bearer 

Summary / The Conch Bearer 

Summary / The Conch Bearer

Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Subject: In a dingy shack in the less-than-desirable Indian neighborhood he calls home, twelve-year-old Anand is entrusted with a conch shell that possesses mystical powers. His task is to return the shell to its rightful home many hundreds of miles away

Type: Children’s Literature, Fantasy Fiction

Charcters: Anand, Nisha, Surabhanu, The Conch


While 12-year-old Anand is at work one day at a tea stall in Kolkata, India, he offers a beggar man his own ration of tea and pooris, only to discover that the man is a healer, Abhaydatta.Abhaydatta enlists Anand’s help in his mission to return a sacred conch shell to the community of Master Healers that live in the Himalayas.The way in which Abhaydatta wins Anand’s confidence is just a preview of the magic and miracles to follow (he heals Anand’s sister, who had stopped speaking after witnessing a murder).A street urchin joins the pair on their journey; Surabhanu, the one who stole the conch from its rightful place in the Himalayas, with powers dark enough to match Abhaydatta’s light, dogs their every step; and the journey itself brims with magical beasts and enchanted streams, cliffs and winds. As with any true quest, Anand must look within in order to complete his mission.Divakaruni keeps her tale fresh and riveting with details of India’s smells, sights and tastes, with characters that possess both good and evil, and with her exploration of the fine line between faith and magic.

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