AUTHOR Pratap Reddy is looking forward to the first leg of his tour to promote his latest book, Ramya’s Treasure on from September 6 to 8 in Vancouver.
Pratap’s tour opens with a reading event scheduled for September 6, at 2 p.m. at the South Hill Library, 6076 Fraser Street. Then, there’s a signing on September 7 at Chapters / Indigo at 1033 Robson Street, from 1 to 5 p.m. And on September 8 from 11 to 6 p.m., Pratap has another signing at Chapters / Indigo at the 2505 Granville Street and Broadway location. He is also booked in Calgary and then in Winnipeg for the remainder of his tour.
Ramya’s Treasure has been praised by the Toronto Star as ‘a warm spicy debut.’
“Exploring Western Canada is high on my to-do list,” says the author who lives in Mississauga with his wife and son. “I look forward to interacting with my potential readers at the book signings. While I intend to popularize my books in Western Canada, I would also like to take this opportunity to acquaint myself with the culture and literary landscape there.”
Pratap knows first hand all about the highs and lows of starting over. After all, he immigrated to Canada more than a decade ago with a childhood dream of becoming a writer one day. This youthful, more correctly fanciful, ambition became a reality when Guernica published his collection Weather Permitting & Other Stories in 2016. The fictional stories contained in the book centred on the peculiar and unforeseen problems new immigrants face immediately upon arrival in Canada.
In Ramya’s Treasure, Pratap writes about Ramya, the eponymous protagonist, who is approaching her 50th birthday and appears to be “down on her luck.” She is recently separated and was laid off work. She feels lonely, alienated and despondent. Written with humour and sympathy, the theme of the novel is about discovering one’s own path to self actualization. According to Pratap, “I wanted to explore the circumstances of a vulnerable immigrant who, lacking in the support systems she may have had back home, finds herself in an unenviable situation in her professional and personal life. Even as she finds her life unravelling, her midlife crisis is ameliorated by a chance discovery of a sandalwood box containing her cherished childhood treasures.”
The novel on the one hand examines the present-day issues as Ramya battles to rebuild her life, and, on the other, it revisits Ramya’s history, underlining the belief that one’s past often defines the future. Far from being torn between two cultures – one which is avowedly modern and multicultural and the other purportedly steeped in myth and mysticism – Ramya endeavours to discover the strength in both cultures to help her out of her predicament. Will she succeed in getting her life back on track?
Pratap observes, “When I tried to conceive a ‘vulnerable character,’ the image of a woman immigrant presented itself at once. Especially since, coming from a country like India, women face the brunt of adjustment problems associated with immigration, even though the decision to immigrate was primarily made by their spouses. Being a woman adds another layer of challenge to an immigrant. While I knew right away that it was a difficult proposition to write from the point of view of a female protagonist, as an author I wanted explore this creative avenue, hoping to rely on empathy and an author’s imaginative faculties. While many early critics have given the experiment the thumbs up, I leave it to my readers to decide for themselves.”
He adds: “My first book was a collection of short stories. So, this time round I wanted to attempt a longer piece of work – a novel rather than short fiction regarding immigrants who have lived in Canada for some time. As a writer I believe we have to be innovative in order to grow and expand our personal, creative universe.”
Pratap describes himself as an underwriter by day and a writer by night. He is very appreciative of his publisher, Guernica for publishing his second book and for organizing a book tour in Western Canada.
Pratap’s books are available online at www.guernicaeditions.com and also available online at Chapters / Indigo and at Amazon.ca or Amazon.com.