The Selector of Souls

The Selector of Souls The Selector of Souls begins with a scene that is terrifying harrowing and yet strangely tender we re in the mid ranges of the Himalayas as a young woman gives birth to her third child with the help

  • Title: The Selector of Souls
  • Author: Shauna Singh Baldwin
  • ISBN: 9780307362926
  • Page: 464
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Selector of Souls begins with a scene that is terrifying, harrowing and yet strangely tender we re in the mid ranges of the Himalayas as a young woman gives birth to her third child with the help of her mother, Damini The birth brings no joy, just a horrible accounting, and the act that follows the huge sacrifice made by Damini out of love of her daughter haunts thThe Selector of Souls begins with a scene that is terrifying, harrowing and yet strangely tender we re in the mid ranges of the Himalayas as a young woman gives birth to her third child with the help of her mother, Damini The birth brings no joy, just a horrible accounting, and the act that follows the huge sacrifice made by Damini out of love of her daughter haunts the novel.In Shauna Singh Baldwin s enthralling novel, two fascinating, strong willed women must deal with the relentless logic forced upon them by survival Damini, a Hindu midwife, and Anu, who flees an abusive marriage for the sanctuary of the Catholic church When Sister Anu comes to Damini s home village to open a clinic, their paths cross, and each are certain they are doing what s best for women What do health, justice, education and equality mean for women when India is marching toward prosperity, growth and becoming a nuclear power If the baby girls and women around them are to survive, Damini and Anu must find creative ways to break with tradition and help this community change from within.

    One thought on “The Selector of Souls”

    1. Shauna Singh Baldwin's new book, THE SELECTOR OF SOULS, set primarily in India in the mid-1990s,is an ambitious novel, expansive and multifaceted in which she interweaves the intimate and personal worlds of two women whose lives couldn't be more different from each other, and their families with the background of the major political upheavals and social preoccupations in India that have reached into all sectors of society. At the most fundamental level, as the author states in an essay on the wr [...]

    2. I loved and admired Shauna Singh Baldwin’s What The Body Remembers greatly and that really was the main reason that I persisted with this book right upto the end despite feeling frustrated with it. It wasn’t the only reason though. I liked the two main characters, Sister Anu and Damini and the setting of the book was deeply familiar to me both in terms of geography and period - Delhi and the hills of Himachal in the 1990’s - as well as in the sense of the socio-economic milieu of the two p [...]

    3. This novel is set in India in the mid-1990s. There are two major characters whose stories are told in alternating sections. Damini, a Sikh-Hindu, is a widowed grandmother who, after she loses her job because of the death of her long-time employer, moves in with her daughter and her family. Damini begins working at a health clinic. Anu, a Christian-Hindu, is a battered wife who leaves her husband after sending her daughter to Canada; she joins a convent and works at the health clinic which also e [...]

    4. First off, a disclaimer. I know Baldwin well, and she read portions of this novel in our Milwaukee writer's workshop when she wasn't traveling back and forth to India to research this project. Even so, I found it difficult to put down once I started reading the finished project for the stories of the two women who are central to the novel and the insight the book offers on the many religions -- Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian -- of India and how they coexist and clash. But most importantly the [...]

    5. The Selector of Souls was an interesting novel that introduces people to the mentality behind gender selection in India. I liked how the story was told from numerous different points of views from different 'castes' of women.The first half of the book grabbed my attention but after that I think the story dragged a lot; there was a lot of really long conversations that really didnt have much of a reason in being there. The end results for all the women were not too great, the impact of all the ar [...]

    6. To would have rated it higher, but it seemed to take on too many ideas, too many events, too many people. Otherwise, it was a good read. Just a really long one, with lots of explaining around few critical events.

    7. Okay, #theselectorofsouls by #shaunasinghbaldwin was basically an improbable plot forced around an agenda I think? It was about two women from vastly different backgrounds who come together to work in women's health and experience about every possible improbability two women could face to highlight patriarchy and sex selective abortion and femicide. There was a lot of running into people in multiple places and folks being attached my marriages and servants and rape and terrorism and hospitalizat [...]

    8. The Selector of Souls is an ambitious novel about the lives and place of women in India. It starts with the stories of two women from different castes and their stories, which eventually intertwine. The book deals with these women trying to empower themselves in a country where women's worth is next to nothing and the caste system still affects their lives in many tragic ways. It also delves into the various religious groups and some of the history of how they have co-existed in India. The Hindu [...]

    9. What an amazing beautiful bookl about the female energyabout the sacrifices women make as a mother, daughter, wife, sister, servantis is is soul enriching the book dealt with all aspects of life especially for women in Indiaranged marriages, the birth of girls, abortion of girl babies, the caste system, domestic violence, and so much moreI feel all women who have any kind of connection with their feminine side (energetically) should read this and feel enriched. alot of references to female deiti [...]

    10. This was a brilliant exploration of the multiple layers - religion, class, caste, rural/urban - of the experience of being a woman in India and the devaluing of women and girls.

    11. Every once in awhile, as if in concert with some universal synchronizing mechanism, a book appears at the exact moment that current events conspire to mirror the subject matter. Thomas King’s An Inconvenient Indian is one and set on the other side of the world, Shawna Singh Baldwin’s third novel, The Selector of Souls, is another. Baldwin’s book could not have come at a more propitious moment. There is something of a numinous quality to its timing, as twelve-year old Malala Yousafzai whose [...]

    12. I enjoyed watching the characters grow and learn about themselves and try to change their lot for the better. It was both a scathing indictment of the role of women in their society and a glimpse of hope for change led from behind.

    13. "One mistake and one son." —from The Selector of Souls (How a father of a girl and boy might describe his family.)What do you do when a baby girl is born? Celebrate, or mourn? In India in the 1990s, sorrow often greeted a female on her entry into the world. A baby girl meant a costly wedding later, so female babies carried with them enormous economic repercussions. Worries about this financial impact led to the desire for sex selection. Sex selection links in with the abortion debate. The abor [...]

    14. This is an absorbing book, though it takes a little getting used to the frequent Hindu/Punjabi terminology. It deals with the severe gender inequality in India in the mid 1990's-which includes pregnancy ultrasounds to detect female fetuses to be aborted, neonatal female infanticide, total submission of females to the whims of their male relatives who make their decisions for them, employ them as unpaid labourers, abuse them sexually & physically, and exclude them from the any significant rol [...]

    15. This was an eye-opening look at a very complicated country. Readers will gain some insights into the degrading treatment of its women and its "sweeper" caste of people. The story closely follows the lives of two women over the course of about three years. It ensnares the women and girls in their lives into the tale giving a broader look at the culture. The younger woman, Anu has been married for ten years to a wealthy, high-placed man who beats her. She conceives a daughter - when her husband ra [...]

    16. This is an adult contemporary novel and can also be categorized as literary fiction. I got this book in September and decided to read it on my 10 hour drive to Washington, DC during the holiday break. It’s a really long read. I think this the longest I’ve taken to read a book but it’s a book that requires a steady pace to truly appreciate it. The writing is spot on. It’s what carries the book and makes the subject matter come to life. I felt like I could SEE India through the description [...]

    17. Like many others, I really liked this book until I got to the second half. I really had to push myself to finish the novel because it felt as though the story had already ended. Baldwin's book is wonderfully written, but I can see how some may find it difficult to follow as it constantly uses references in Hindi, Punjabi and other north Indian languages. As someone fluent in Hindi, I was fine, but I do think a glossary of terms would have been good for english speakers. Moreover, I didn't feel a [...]

    18. The Selector of Souls is a mastadon of a book. It will trample you if you are not careful. It will devastate you anyways.The first chapter plunges the reader into an unfamiliar world facing a moral dilemma for which most westerners have given little thought. Backtracking, it then recounts the historical setting and the events that brought a proud and moral woman to that point. This gets us midway through this dense and often repetitive story.I had to put the book down for a few extended breaks s [...]

    19. This was a difficult book to read. Don't get me wrong, it's extremely well written and is accompanied with a strong message. History of the country and religious strife between Muslim, Sikh,Hindu and Christian is presented evenly among the characters and I found it quite interesting. The story alternates between two women who at first appear to have no connection to one another,but their stories eventually collide.Some of the situations that these women go through made me want to scream. The boo [...]

    20. I'll cheat and steal this phrase: "What do health, justice, education and equality mean for women when India is marching toward prosperity, growth and becoming a nuclear power? ". This sums the book up perfectly for me. Although it is a longish and not especially fast-moving book, the writing itself makes it difficult to put down. There are many threads running through it too: not just the two main characters who become intertwined part way through the book, but the Hindu/Christian/Moslem intera [...]

    21. I have learned a lot about myself while reading this book.This is the second book I have read by this author (The Tiger Claw). Her style makes it difficult to understand where the story is going at the outset, but once you are entangled with the characters, it is impossible to put the book down. The philosophical basis for the story line is not lost on me - the phrase (p. 188) "What comes though you, changes you. What comes through you, creates you." epitomizes this story - beginning from concep [...]

    22. This book is very well written. Baldwin is very knowledgable of Indian cultures (Punjabi and Hindu). So much so that it makes me believe she has grown up in a culture (much like myself) and has looked at all of the nuances of patriarchy and its impact on silencing women (both macro and micro) critically. This book follows the journey of two women, Any and Damini, and how these journeys overlap. This book intuitively looks at the oppression of the female at the hands of state, religious, cultural [...]

    23. A long, complex, convoluted book, Baldwin's sweeping novel of the position of women in India is worth taking the time over. As an outsider, I was at times overwhelmed by names and cultural references completely unfamiliar to me. In the last third of the book, I wanted some editorial hand to slice through some sections that threatened to derail the story. I persevered and was rewarded by a novel that weaves together strands in ways possible only in the hands of a deft writer. The evolution of eac [...]

    24. From previous books I've read by Shauna Singh Baldwin, her Indian culture features a society many of us know little about. The story is engrossing as it moves through the various main characters at different stages in their life's journey. In the first few pages, I knew this book would deal with traumatic, dramatic issues and would be mulled over a long time after completion (and it definitely has). My challenge was reading Indian words interspersed extensively throughout the book and where not [...]

    25. Just what I like: deep peek into "your brother's" soul (snorkling over coral reef). This book "teletransports" you into the deep jungle of East Indian religion, social life, traditions and ever changing reality, with pinch of history. It of course cannot be done without asking big questions about value of human life (this includes girls and women), abortion, suicide, rape, social justice, education, religion, etc. Although initially I was irritated by frequently used local terminology, it helped [...]

    26. I really like the premise of this book. I liked that it brought attention to the very real issue of female infanticide in India and shed light on why the mysogyny is so indemic. I wasn't a huge fan of the style of writing, but it could have been an artistic choice to mirror the lives of the women presented. If so, then it was ok. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I did, however, feel like it danced around some of the issues rather than dig deep and rip apart the layers. Baldwin's choice, ho [...]

    27. Towards the end it becomes a little too wordy - could do with editing, but otherwise thoroughly enjoyed it. Its an unusual subject - the treatment of girls and girl babies in India as well as women, but one that needs to be opened up. The story interweaves the lives of two women from very different parts of Indian society and brings them together. Quite a long read and one needs to keep going with it as it can otherwise become confusing. Is possible best appreciated by those who have lived or at [...]

    28. Thank you so much to for this give away. The Selector of Souls was an enriching book to read. I learned so much about India, its many religions, the plight of women and the way the country has evolved.The main characters in this novel overcame tremendous difficulties to become the strong, brave women that they were in the end of the novel. It may be a long book but I found I didn't want to put it down.The ending was perfect and the novel may have centred in India but some of the deeper things c [...]

    29. In this book I learned a lot about Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians, and the conflicts between them in India. I was not prepared for the amount of familiarity needed with religions to follow along in this book. It is also about oppression of women, spousal abuse, politics, oh, and female infanticide. That being said, it is very slow to start. I had to really push through the first 150 pages, and then drags on long after the bulk of the story is done. Finally it leaves you hanging with an u [...]

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