Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Read The World - Madagascar - Beyond The Rice Fields

Book: Beyond The Rice Fields
Author: Naivo
Pages: 368
Book Takes Place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 34th read of the year.  I finished it on 3/6/2019

This was the first book from Madagascar that was translated into English.  It was one of those countries, like several in this challenge, where there isn't a lot of literature to chose from.  So I was happy to come across this book.  It was actually translated after ANOTHER "Read The World" person was on the hunt for a book to read from this country.  So I thank her for pushing to get one in English for the rest of us.

This story is mainly about two people - Fara and her father's slave, Tsito.  They have been close ever since they were children.  Tsito came to the family when his village was destroyed.  Fara is glad to have a companion and Tsito feels he must always protect her.  There lives entertwine, even after Tsito leaves her father's service and Fara grows up and falls in love with another.  They always find their way back to each other - drawn by familiarity and then love.

However, their lives are torn apart by tyranny, and superstition.  Fara's mother is brought to trial for being a witch.  All people in the area who claim themselves to be Chrisitan are sentenced to renoucne their religion, or die.  While Fara and Tsito are not Christians, they find themselves caught up in the fear and superstition of the reigning family and are not sure they can escape death.

This was an interesting read.  I say that because I think the Kindle translation was poor.  I have ordered the book to add to my Read The World shelf, and I am interested to see the differences.  I am sure for the most part it will be accurate, but the Kindle addition kept calling Christ "Kristy".  So it had some errors.

The story is wild, with many twists and turns.  Fara and Tsito grow up in this book - quickly in the 360 pages.  It is not an easy read - it took a lot of concentration to get through it, but it was worth it.  There are many, MANY characters - a lot of them with very long, very similar names, so you need to been on your game to keep it all straight.

I am glad I read it.  There is one really great quote in the book that I think is worth sharing:

"Love is like rice, when you transplant it, it grows, but never in the same way. It retains a bittersweet memory of its first soils. Every time it’s uprooted it dies a little; every time it’s replanted, it loses a piece of its soil. But it also bears fruit"

Stars: 4


  1. Fantastic review. I really like the idea of reading books from different countries. It is such a culturally enriching experience.

    1. It really has been. I love doing reading challenges, and have wanted to try this one for awhile. But I was always afraid of the daunting task. I am really really enjoying it - so many books I would have never read otherwise!