Numbers have filled Rumi Vasi's world since she first learned to count.
But it was on a trip to India at the age of 8 that her mathematical powers acquired their almost supernatural significance.
When she returned home to Cardiff her destiny was sealed: she was now, and would forever be, the town's 'maths prodigy'.
At 14 Rumi is firmly set on the path of a gifted child, speeding headlong towards Oxford University.
As her father sees it, discipline is everything if the family has any hope of making its mark on its adoptive country.
However, as Rumi gets older and the family's stark isolation intensifies, numbers start to lose their magic for the young teenager: she abandons the rigid timetable of her afternoons to seek out friendship and replaces equations with rampant spice abuse.
As her longing for love and her parents' will to succeed deepen so too does the rift between generations."Gifted" captures brilliantly the battle to come of age in an emotional and comic hinterland, where histories, arithmetic and cumin seeds all play a part. In a voice that is by turns very funny and fiercely acute Nikita Lalwani brings vividly to life a young family's search for recognition and how that search can break a family apart.
This is a story of high aspirations and deep desires, and of the sometime loneliness of childhood. "Gifted" is a dazzling debut.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 28/06/2007
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780670917075