Workshop Alum Rao's Novel 'In Hanuman's Hands' Reviewed

Cheeni Rao

Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Srinivas Cheeni Rao's new memoir, In Hanuman's Hands, received a detailed review in a recent edition of the Chicago Reader. Weaving its way through the novel's plot, (which describes Rao's belief that Hanuman, the Hindu monkey deity, helped him through his trials with drug addiction and homelessness), the Chicago Reader explores the tapestry of spiritual events described in the text:

"As a toddler, Srinivas 'Cheeni' Rao was snatched out of a car’s path by a stranger who delivered him to the arms of his terrified mother, touched her cheek, and vanished. 'She often says she knew it was a god,' Rao says. 'The moment he touched her, she knew.'

"At Lyons Township High School, he was 'an exceptional student, the top of my class, an athlete,' Rao says. But what he describes in his memoir as his 'Indian immigrant high-achiever mask' covered up 'two suicide attempts in high school, my nighttime addiction to breaking and entering houses, [and] that I’d burned my neighbor’s house down in a fit of rage.' Maybe it was Hanuman who miraculously kept him out of jail." read more...

Read >> Chicago Reader review: How’s Your Relationship With the Monkey God?