Almost at the crest of the hill a path led off to the left. Raman turned aside and followed it. It was a narrow path, covered with thick dust that pressed up between Raman’s bare toes. The hill people called this the “path on the edge of the mountain,” and rightly so, for it was cut right out of the rock itself. From its edge the lonely slopes dropped down, down, without any pause, until they merged with the misty, glittering patchwork of the South Indian plains. As far as one could see, the plains stretched out, patterned with squares of red plowed earth and brilliant green rice fields and blue ponds left by the rains. Puffs of clouds hung suspended between the plains and the path on which Raman stood.
Deep in a beautiful hill-town of southern India in the mid-1900s lives Raman, the son of an illiterate woodcutter. More than anything, Raman dreams of buying the beautiful book under a glass case in the marketplace and of one day becoming a scholar. His dreams come crashing down when his family faces hard times. Raman is forced to leave school and instead gather pinecones in the hills to sell for firewood. An unexpected turn of events gives Raman hope and sends him into the hills in search of something other than pinecones. Beautiful description and exciting plot are combined with profound messages about family, education, hard work, persistence, honesty, and sacrifice.
“This book is an absolute gem! I give it the highest scores possible for moral, literary, educational, and entertainment merit.”—Jenny Phillips
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