Temsula Ao, a poet and a short story writer, is the recipient of several awards, among them the Padmashri and the Sahitya Akademi Award. Her works include These Hills Called Home, a collection of stories and Laburnum for My Head, her memoir, about her growing up years. And now Zubaan has brought us this refreshing novel. It is one of those very rare unput-downable books, primarily because every experience finds a response in the reader—and I include men also in the category of readers for Ao has much in this which compels the male reader to introspect. On the face of it, it is the story of a young girl who is unwillingly pressurized into a marriage which ends all her own dreams of further education. But in reality it goes much beyond an individual life with all its psychological probing into a young woman’s mind and later her constant struggle with the pulls of tradition as well as critiquing of patriarchy and the compulsive changes it is forced into in response to a number of things—modernity, relationships and need for the male to step out of paternal domination.
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