Song of the Cuckoo Bird

Fate brought them together as a family and sweetened the sour notes of life…

Amulya Malladi’s haunting new novel is a generational saga set in one truly special home in Southern India, a place where the desperate ones—those without family, without caste connections, without hope—become fatefully connected to each other, while holding tight to their dreams.

Kokila came to Tella Meda, an ashram by the Bay of Bengal, an orphan, barely a month after she was married. She was just 11 years old. Once there Kokila made a choice that altered the fabric of her life. Instead of becoming a respectable woman, a wife and mother, youthful passion and fear drove Kokila to choose to remain at Tella Meda under the care of the young and beautiful guru, Charvi.

Through the years, Kokila often questions her choice, as she struggles to find her place in a country where un-tethered souls like hers merely slip through the cracks. Having spurned the conventional life that could have been hers for the taking, Kokila must make a home in Tella Meda alongside strong and deeply flawed women who are also misfits in society. Sometimes they are her friends, sometime enemies, but always family.

Like Isabel Allende, Amulya Malladi crafts complex characters in deeply atmospheric settings that transport readers to different eras, locales, and sensibilities. Spanning the 1950s to the end of the millennium, Song of the Cuckoo Bird chronicles India’s tumultuous history as generations of a makeshift family seek comfort and joy in unlikely places—and from unlikely hearts.


Book Reviews

Amulya Malladi’s captivating fourth novel, Song of the Cuckoo Bird, is the story of one woman’s life in modern India, reflecting changes in the status of that nation’s women over the last 40-odd years. An intelligent, absorbing novel…

Diane White, The Boston Globe

Song of the Cuckoo Bird transports readers on a cinematic journey through late-twentieth-century India.

Deborah Donovan, Booklist

Amulya Malladi’s Song of the Cuckoo Bird is a sprawling, gorgeous intergenerational saga, in which the spice and savor of traditional India progresses painfully into the present — the changing of women’s lives and the diminution of the man as household god. Told through the mysterious embroidery of one family’s tapestry — its life, loves, regrets, secrets, deaths and even what comes after death — is mesmerizing.

Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

This is a remarkable tale of a family of misfits, while at the same time the book itself chronicles major events in India and changes that affect those who live at Tella Meda.

Marie Hashima Lofton,