Faced with a childhood speech impediment, an abusive father, and two sisters whose beauty and articulation outshine hers, Tara has only her thumb to talk to... Set in a wistfully remembered and charmingly evoked Trichy of the Sixties, The Finger Puppet describes the special girlhood years - of Eye-tex, jasmine and pin-head bindis - that eleven-year-old Tara, from a rich upper-class brahman family shares with her sisters, beautiful and kindly Padmini, and eccentric, whiplash-tongued Cordelia. It is a girlhood enriched by her mother's passion for Carnatic music and her well of illustrative stories from the Vedas; but made sordid by her westernized father's arbitrariness and abuse. As she watches her mother and her sisters being roughed up time and again, Tara retreats to her imaginary world, choosing to cope with her ankyloglossia and the bewildering conflicts of her childhood by talking to her thumb. But her tiny alter-ego is less forgiving. Less a multiple personality story than the sensitively recounted growing-up tale of an awkward and abused young girl, The Finger Puppet, Anu Jayanth's debut novel, masterfully captures the dark and light shades of childhood.