Smita, an American journalist with Indian heritage, vowed never to return to India. However, she agrees to cover the story of a Hindu woman named Meena who is ostracized by the community, and attacked by members of her brothers because she married a Muslim man. She is drawn into the lives of Meena and her young daughter, and the assignment becomes very personal.
BOOK SNAPS: Kirkus calls it “a graphic parable of contemporary India delivered in broad brush strokes”. I’m not sure that the social issues addressed in the narrative broadly reflect the state of contemporary Indian attitudes as a whole, with its large, complex population. However, the stark depiction of the patriarchal attitudes within traditional communities is explored meticulously, and even though the language is somewhat “preachy”, the author opens the reader’s eyes to the practice of honour-killing that still continues today. I didn’t agree with NPR that the “novel’s conclusion is a crowd pleasing melodrama that ticks all the correct boxes”. I felt that the ending was satisfying and realistic.
“As children, we were taught to be afraid of tigers and lions. Nobody taught us what I know today – the most dangerous animal in this world is a man with wounded pride.”
“Was there anything more flattering than being the object of a child’s affection.”
Author: Thrity Umrigar