About the book:
In this epic, cross-cultural and cinematic novel, a boy’s coming-of-age saga collides with the sordid underworlds of child trafficking in India and Nepal. When he starts his journey in the fantastical desert city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India, thirteen year old Eli de Villiers is bound by his parents’ estrangement, and by the otherwise ordinary life he leads in Cape Town.
He longs for his parents to reunite, for a whole family. But when he finds himself inside a brothel on Delhi’s infamous GB Road, at the mercy of the diabolical madam and child trafficker Auntie Lakshmi, his world expands exponentially. Eventually escaping with other children, Eli leads them – with Lakshmi’s henchmen on their heels – north towards Nepal, to deliver them to safety and to find his father, an international mediatorm posted in Kathmandu.
The children travel through the surreal landscapes of India and the jungles of southern Nepal. Also in pursuit are the irrepressible Inspector VJ Gupta, head of the Child Crimes Unit in Delhi and Lakshmi’s nemesis; and Anton de Villiers, Eli’s father, who seeks out Maoist rebels in the jungle to help find his son.Eli’s mother, Margo, has abdicated and run off to the drugged-out beaches of Kerala in a haze of self-destruction. Evocative, thoughtprovoking and compassionate, Garden of Dreams explores theinevitable tension between loving ‘one’s own’ and loving strangers desperately needing love.