The Village By the Sea

The Village By the Sea Study Guide

The Village by the Sea is a novel written by Anita Desai and published in 1982. The novel focuses on a small family in India who lives in a village near the sea. The family is in a difficult situation because the mother is extremely sick and the father spends his time drinking instead of working or taking care of the children. Because of this, Lila and Hari, the oldest children in the family, become the parental figures for their younger siblings.

The novel was inspired by Anita Desai’s own childhood experience. Critics generally lauded the work. The Wall Street Journal extolled, “With any luck this reprint will introduce a fresh cohort of readers age 9 and older to Ms. Desai’s superb work.” The New York Review of Books called it “an exciting and moving story,” and India Today said, “Village is a stylistic triumph that matches the victory of a boy and a girl whose grit pulled them through.”

In 1983 she received the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for the novel.