“I was trying, as every writer tries to do, even in fiction, to get at the truth, write the truth.” – Anita Desai

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An excerpt from The Village by the Sea by Anita Desai.

He sounded so heartbroken that Hari asked, ‘Why do you care so much about the birds, sir?’

‘The birds are the last free creatures on earth. Everything else has been captured and tamed and enslaved – tigers behind the bars of the zoos, lions stared at by crowds in safari parks, men and women in houses like matchboxes working in factories that are like prisons. Only the birds are free and can take off and fly away into space when they like.’ His face shone when he spoke and his voice trembled. ‘I suppose that is why I love them – for their freedom, which we don’t have. Perhaps I would also like to leave all – all this ugliness we’ve made on earth and fly with them. Wouldn’t you? he asked Hari.

‘But we can’t fly, sir,’ Hari reminded him, earnestly. ‘We are here on earth, we cannot leave it. We much live here, somehow.’