ISLAND’S END by Padma Venkatraman

(Heidi, at My Juicy Little Universe, squeezes flavors on Poetry Friday this week.)

Island’s End, a novel from
Padma Venkatraman

This spring through a workshop,
I learned about a novel from poet &
award-winning novelist Padma Venkatraman.
Although this post isn’t about her novel-in-verse,
A TIME TO DANCE, which I expect to
bring to a post later,
I hope you will like beginning to know her works.
And if you already found her, I’m glad we share
appreciation for Padma (also known as T V Padma)

ISLAND’S END by Padma Venkatraman

This contemporary-set novel welcomed me to
meet a hunter-gatherer tribe, lead by the elder,
I became pulled into their ways. The characters
& the setting feel so real, I would welcome a
story about their earlier years, leading up to the
time that we meet the communal villagers.

ISLAND's END by Padma Venkatram, Penguin Young Readers Group
ISLAND’s END by Padma Venkatram, Penguin Young Readers Group

Ideal Readers of this book, look for stories involving:

Back country camping
Self-sufficient subsistence societies
Coastal-set stories
Girl leaders
Little brothers/families
First Peoples

The story line
Lah-ame, the tribal family’s longtime & wise male
leader, and the main character, Uido, the chosen new leader,
a young woman, are faced with an intrusion of outsiders
coveting wood of fabulous trees, set in contemporary times.

Favorite line
“Maya covers her face with her hands, as though tears
are something to be ashamed of. I put my arms around
her, but she does not sob.”
(about a visiting outsider, Maya, who doesn’t want to harm
the people or resources of the isolated island)

Favorite scene
If I say, I’ll be sharing a key plot element, but
the rituals & traditions of the tribe call out
to my inner-anthropologist self.

Book bonus 1
Pitcher plants! Seasonal pitcher plant bogs grace
the wild part of our North Florida world; I can’t
remember when I’ve found these unusual plants
to be an important feature of a
beautiful novel the way they are here.

Book bonus 2
Inspired by a writing prompt shared at
Reflections on the Teche by Poetry Friday’s
Margaret Simon,
I selected words that feel charged, played with them
& offer this found poem,
inspired by ISLAND’S END:

Water slurps
by Jan Annino


Healer prays
Apprentice prays

Drongo bird*
Monitor lizard

Turtle fat
Bear skin
Beeswax glue

Healer prays
Apprentice prays


Healer prays
Apprentice prays

~ Jan Annino

*Drongo bird

Book bonus # 3
The author’s oceanography career before publishing novels
sailed her to many places, including islands off India.
In learning that some island groups inexplicably avoided
harm from the disastrous 2004 tsunami, she found a
story route into how that could be.

For more on Padma Venkatraman, author of

The Nerdy Book Club

Padma Venkatraman’s website

Meet Padma at these places:
James River Writers Conference 2016

Highlights Foundation, 2017


19 responses to “ISLAND’S END by Padma Venkatraman”

  1. It sounds like a fascinating book, Jan. How lucky that you got to work with the author during your verse workshop! There are such wonderful sounds and animal cameos in your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Her titles would call to you, I feel, if you ever had the time to add another new author to your very long list, Laura.
      It was a fortunate near-week, to be immersed in that intense space of learning & writing with Katharine Erskine, Alma Fullerton & Padma Venkatraman.
      And, I feel honored with your words about my poem effort in this post.


    • You speak the truth, MaryLee, thank you. I cried, reading it.
      After another spell of time dwelling with it,
      I’m looking forward to creating a post.

      Appreciations for your visit on these hot summer-sticking days.


  2. Good Morning, dear Jan. A lovely review of Padma’s book in a format that we all love. I am applauding you from No. Va. I look forward to reading this book. I adore how connected Padma is to her stories. I want to be in that place and she takes me there.
    I drove my girl to Hollins this week. Oh, Jan. What a wonderful, wonderful place it is. I look forward to the growth and learning that I know she will enjoy. Hugs to you, friend. This blog post feels like a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! The real freshman year. I’m so excited for her.
      Likely it was a different kind of drive, home.
      I watched our daughter walk away to her dorm after we helped her
      unload her on her freshman year & I got in the womb of the car & cried.
      And guess what –
      she now begins grad. school Monday, so we are college mothers together
      dear Linda.

      You have exactly identified the essence of Padma’s word magic.
      She lives & breathes her subjects from passionate immersion.


  3. The parts you shared certainly have me intrigued, and I wonder if there’s a similarity to Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Thanks for sharing, Jan. I know of the book but haven’t read it, another for the ever-growing list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this wonderful introduction, Jan – and this post DOES reveal you inner anthropologist! I love how your curiosity knows no bounds.
    [In separate news, thank you for the beautiful little surprise treasure in my mailbox this week – happily perched in my studio!] :0)

    Liked by 1 person

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