In 1949, at age 15, Mehta left his native India to spend three years at the Arkansas School for the Blind. In this vivid memoir, written with great sensitivity and without self-pity, he describes the dilemmas of coping with blindness while adjusting to life in a new culture. The normal growing pains of adolescence were amplified by his handicap, but even more so by his identity as an Indian. When he tries to cross an intersection, a man tells him, ``I won't help your kind,'' but then a woman gives him a lift in her car. A teacher decrees him to be damned because he's a Hindu. When a white American girlfriend murmurs ``I love you,'' Mehta, torn by guilt and ambivalence, pontificates, ``Love grows like a treeit takes years.'' Comic touches and rueful ironies abound. The author starts out certain that he will soon return to India, but we leave him on the point of embarking for a new frontier, California. Among Mehta's 15 books are Vedi and The Ledge Between the Streams. Foreign rights: Georges Borchardt. January 27
The latest addition to Ved Mehta's series of autobiographical accounts. Blind since early childhood, the author left his native India at age 15 to continue his education at the Arkansas School for the Blind. This is the story of those years, during which adolescence, separation from family, blindness, and the shock of a different culture converged with a sometimes overwhelming force. Mehta's remembered perceptions of blind culture and American culture are sometimes amusing and often poignant. The reader will find sharp insights into what it means to be an outsider, and discover one determined boy's coping tactics. A delightful book that will appeal to a wide range of readers. Amy D. Goffman, Registered Physical Therapist, Lake Forest, Ill.
School Library Journal
YA In the fifth volume of Mehta's autobiographical writings, he reveals his adolescent longings and ambitions. In 1949, as a 15 year old, he traveled from his native India to the Arkansas School for the Blind. There he encountered not only the expected problems of a blind youth in a world of ``sound-shadows'' but also the cultural and ethnic disparities and prejudices of another country as well as the tremendous depressions of homesickness and loneliness. Ved learned to cope with his Baptist piano teacher who tried to ``save'' him from Hinduism, as well as his macho gym instructor who wanted him to develop wrestling and combat skills. He eventually tossed out his white cane and developed fantastic mobility through the school's system of learning sounds and shadows. Confused by American teenage mores, he tried to fathom the customs of dances, dating, going steady, and falling in love. In Sound-Shadows of the New World Mehta recalls lovingly the years of growth and struggle with thoughtful introspection, humor, and a sense of dignity. He left the Arkansas school to journey to California to begin college life and a writing career nourished by the often painful lessons of adolescence. These are lessons that all young people will understand. Mary T. Gerrity, Queen Anne School, Upper Marlboro, Md.