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Sex, drugs and rock and roll. What more does a novel need?

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Book By Author:  Olivia Rana

Elastic Girl
 Elastic Girl
 Action / Adventure
 1976170605 9781976170607


As Muthu Tikaram lies curled inside her mother’s belly, her grandfather murders the family’s landlord, Mr Pathiban.  It seems that Muthu’s fate is decided before she is even born.

While Muthu’s older sisters, Belli and Safa, are given an education, eleven-year-old Muthu spends her days selling rotis along the dusty roadside in Ambattur.  A dreamer, she also performs Bollywood songs for local children, but after a freak accident, finds she has a talent as a contortionist, so that when Muthu’s family are evicted from their home by the Chennai government, Muthu is sold to the circus by her parents. 

At first Muthu believes that in the circus she will be treated like a star, like her heroine Aishwarya Rai; instead she is forced to perform three times a day, and suffers terrible abuse at the hands of the Troupe Master Mr. Prem. 

Although she becomes the star of the circus, top-billed as the Elastic Girl, Muthu is unable to continue living in constant fear of Mr Prem, so that when the circus arrives at Mumbai she runs away with her circus friend, Gloria.  Penniless and living on the streets of Mumbai the friends are picked up by the charming Baba, a pimp for some of the brothel houses on Falkland Road. 

With Gloria hooked on drugs and forced into prostitution by Baba, the girls finally makes a bid to escape, but back on the streets Gloria’s drug habit tears them apart and after losing her friend, Muthu decides that she has no choice but to leave Mumbai and travel back to her parents’ new house in Avadi.

In her absence, Muthu’s contemptible grandmother has come to stay and the tension mounts as Muthu tries to keep out of her way, but then in a dramatic climax the truth about the past is revealed when Muthu discovers that her mother had been raped by the landlord, Mr Pathiban, and that she was the result. ‘You were the sin that evil left behind, you were the one who drove us all into hell’, her grandmother tells her, and the foundations of Muthu’s life and self-belief begin to crumble.

Unable to live with what she has discovered, Muthu finds herself back in the circus, but with a new determination and assistance from sympathetic friends, she helps to overthrow Mr Prem and finds happiness in the arms of her old trainer, Mr Kalpak.

Moving away from the circus, Muthu and Mr Kalpak build a contented life for themselves and their baby son. But when she loses Mr Kalpak, she is pitched back into despair and begins to believe that her grandmother was right and that her life has been cursed all along.

In the epilogue, we are back in the present with Muthu, where she is selling snacks outside the hospital with her son. It is as if she is waking from a dream: ‘The landscape and the air about me have changed and it’s as if I am seeing everything for the first time.’ There is a sense of peace about her as she watches her son and realises that she has now come full circle from selling rotis on the bridge at Ambattur.

Date Reviewed:   



A near death experience that will tear at your heart.


Muthu has been sold to a circus. This is just the start of a heart breaking story of a little girl’s life growing up in the streets of poverty ridden India. Olivia Rana, the author of Elastic Girl, takes the reader on a stunningly graphic journey of Muthu, the main character, and her struggle from birth. As a small child, she is sent out onto the streets to sell roti to make a living for the family. In a freak accident, she awakens from being thought dead to having the miraculous gift of a contortionist.  Her family, evicted from their home, sell her and her new talent to a local circus. This is just the beginning of the twist and turns of fate that will push her along to despair.

Rand, the author, has the natural talent of a storyteller. She captures readers with strong character development and obvious research in how life in India is for a great majority. The story line weaves through Muthu’s experiences with despicable foes and her own self-worth as a person. When you think it can’t get any worse, she is thrown deeper into what most would think a nightmare scenario. Only her hope of a better life keeps her alive.

Elastic Girl, will tear at your heart, make you believe in hope and finally it will make you reflect on all the good and wonderful things that we take for granted each day.


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Author:  Olivia Rana