The Archer is a beautifully lyrical and gently written coming of age story set in the 1960s and '70s in Bombay/Mumbai. Originally released in 2021, this reformat which coincides with the paperback release, is 320 pages, and is also available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats from the Algonquin Press.
The author, Shruti Swamy, is a gifted wordsmith. There's a precise and conscious use of language which sometimes felt a tiny bit overwrought. She also has something worthwhile to say, so the writing is absolutely not window dressing in this case; there's a substantial story conveyed in the prose.
There was a pervasive sense of sadness and wistfulness about the limits imposed on the main character by her family situation and to a larger degree, her culture. The metaphor of a type of dance with a still center and wildly whirling and kinetic outside movement are aptly used to mirror the realities of Vidya's existence.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the settings as well as the minutiae of the dance included in the story. Highly recommended for fans of slice-of-life stories and family sagas. Competently written.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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