Brahma's Dream


432 pages
ISBN 0-385-66015-4
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Carol A. Stos

Carol A. Stos is an assistant professor in the Department of Modern
Languages and Literatures at Laurentian University.


Shree Ghatage is an award-winning short-story writer who had best get
ready to be an award-winning novelist: Brahma’s Dream, her debut
novel, is a triumph.

Set in Bombay in 1948 just as India is poised to gain independence from
Britain, the book uses the drama of that tumultuous time as the backdrop
for the intimate and compelling story narrated by an extraordinary
13-year-old girl. Mohini has Cooley’s anemia, a hereditary congenital
blood disease. There is no cure, only treatment through transfusions,
and the life expectancy for most is only up to three years. Mohini is
exceptional not just because she has reached adolescence, but especially
because her suffering and physical limitations have made her a
compassionate, wise, and wry observer of human nature. Although her
world is circumscribed by the effects of her disease, Mohini’s
existence is rich and full. It is through the hopes and dreams, the
small and great tragedies and accomplishments, of those closest to
her—family, friends, servants, and neighbours—that she comes to know
and understand the joys and sorrows of love, life, and relationships.
These same people and their personal desires and struggles also teach
her about India’s past, its changing present, and its uncertain future
aspirations. Overarching all is the exploration of the Hindu belief that
our human existence, like all life, is part of a continuous flowing
unity, and all things, great and small, ebb and flow in Brahma’s

Ghatage’s prose is luminous, her characters are captivating, and the
story she tells is finely crafted and richly textured. A must-read that
leaves the reader both satisfied and profoundly moved.


Ghatage, Shree., “Brahma's Dream,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,