Married at ten, widowed at eighteen, left with two children, Sivakami must wear widow's whites, shave her head, and touch no one. She is not allowed to remarry, and in the next sixty years she ventures outside her family compound only thrice. Spanning the lifetime of one woman (1896-1962), this book takes us into an Indian Brahmin's household.
Spanning the lifetime of one woman (1896-1962), "The Toss of a Lemon" brings us intimately into a Brahmin household, into an India we've never before seen.Married at ten, widowed at eighteen, left with two children, Sivakami must wear widow's whites, shave her head, and touch no one from dawn to dusk. She is not allowed to remarry, and in the next sixty years she ventures outside her family compound only three times. She is extremely orthodox in her behaviour except for one defiant act: She moves back to her dead husband's house and village to raise her children. That decision sets the course of her children's and grandchildren's lives, twisting their fates in surprising, sometimes heartbreaking ways.Inspired by her grandmother's stories, Padma Viswanathan masterfully brings to life a profoundly exotic yet utterly recognizable family in the midst of social and political upheaval. "The Toss of a Lemon" is the debut of a major new writer.
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"* "The Toss of a Lemon is a captivating novel that in relating the story of one Indian woman and her family tells the story of a changing society. Precisely and deftly written, constantly interesting, morally serious yet sympathetic -- I challenge any reader to start reading this book and give up on it. It joins the company of the great novels on India." (Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi) * "Viswanathan's narrative, refreshingly, is free of anachronism, and she has a pleasing way of engaging the reader's senses - not least with some mouth-watering descriptions of dry and wet curries, pacchadis of yogurt and cucumber.... Deep-fried patties of lentil and chili," and other such delicacies.... Of a piece with the recent works of Vikram Seth, and reminiscent at times of Garcia Marquez---altogether a pleasure." Kirkus starred review"
The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan
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