Review- Dancing to the Flute–Manisha Jolie Amin

Synopsis: An unforgettable story of three young friends making their way in the world – told with warmth, music, clarity and simplicity: it speaks directly to the heart.

Abandoned as a young child, the street urchin Kalu has, against all odds, carved out a life for himself in rural India.  One day, a travelling healer overhears Kalu playing a melody through a rolled up banyan leaf and encourages him to build on his raw musical talent.  This chance encounter will lead Kalu on an amazing voyage of self-discovery.

A colourful evocation of India and its people, Dancing to the Flute is a magical, heart-warming story of a country’s joys and sorrows, the nature of friendship and the astonishing transformative powers of music.


Favourite quote: ‘In both music and friendship, you will experience happiness and anguish.  It’s part of what makes us whole.’

My thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I really liked the way that the three friends Kalu, Bal and Malti are portrayed.  Amin through her colourful expression makes rural India come alive.  Kalu’s life completely changes once he meets the healer who helps him heal and transforms his life beyond recognition by sending him away to live with his reclusive brother in the mountains. Kalu doesn’t forget his humble beginnings and he often comes back to visit his friends, Bal and Malti.  Malti’s story is a very interesting one.  She is a young girl who is sent into service so her brother can finish his education.  Luckily the lady who she works for, Ganga Ba is a kind soul, who realises what a treasure Malti is.  I urge you to read the book, as I do not want to give away what happens to Malti, but it added a climax near the end of the book that had me glued to the pages until I had finished it.

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About the author: Manisha Jolie Amin was born in Kenya and moved to Australia with her family when she was five.  Sydney is her home, although she travels frequently to both India and England to visit family.  Manisha lives with her husband, son and cat.  Dancing to the Flute is her first novel.

You can read an interview with Amin on her UK publisher’s website.


This book is published by Alma Books Ltd in the UK in March.  The book is available for pre-order.

Thanks to Alma Books for the advance reading copy.

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  • Sounds like such a beautiful and interesting story, Cathy. I really love stories that take me places I’ve never seen into cultures I’ve never experienced. 🙂

    • It was Krista. I also love stories that meet what you have said, and this was one such story for me 🙂

  • Janine

    I can tell how much you loved this one Cathy!! The ending must be something special.I admit, I continue to envy your time to read! xx

    • Thanks Janine. The ending is really lovely yes. I try to squeeze in reading time when I can 😉 xx