When Anita Rau Badami made her U.S. debut last year with her second novel, The Hero's Walk, reviewers compared her deft and lush book to the works of Michael Ondaatje, R. K. Narayan, Naguib Mafouz, and Jhumpa Lahiri. It was hailed by Washington Post Book World ("fascinating . . . engrossing"), People Weekly ("resonant"), and Salon.com ("compelling"), among others.
Now we're pleased to announce the U.S. publication of her first novel, Tamarind Woman. Set in India's railway colonies, Tamarind Woman tells the story of two generations of women. Kamini, an overachiever, has moved to Canada to begin her graduate studies. Her mother, Saroja, nicknamed Tamarind Woman due to her sour tongue, is bitter because of her loveless marriage and her thwarted ambition to become a doctor.
When Kamini receives a postcard from her mother saying that she has sold their home and is traveling through India by train, both are plunged into the past to confront their dreams and losses. On her long railroad journey, Saroja tells the passengers on her train the story of her life. And from Canada, in between phone calls to her mother and postcards received from her mother's trip, Kamini reflects on her past. As we learn about their respective histories, from girlhood through maturity, we see the loss and love, the jealousy and joy, that has filled their lives.
Tamarind Woman is a wise and compassionate novel about family, memory, and the traditions that tear us apart and bring us together.
Booklist - Micahel Spinella
Badami's brilliant and beautiful novel captures life in India--the musicality of the English spoken, the interactions with servants, the smells of rotting fruit in the market, the sweltering sun, and the constant moving about of a railway family.
Library Journal - Rebecca Stuhr
Although set primarily in India, this portrait of a mother and daughter transcends geographical limitations.... This thoughtful work is recommended for all public and academic fiction collections.
She might have trimmed away some of the many smaller stories to make room for the central drama, but that is a small complaint for a first novel that reveals so much talent.
Beautifully composed, but a journey into the past more notable for the travel than the destination.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Murli Nair Tamarind Woman A bittersweet novel just like India and what I found appealing was that though the central characters are women it is not a feminist diatribe against men but more of women and men as flesh and blood with their own frailties and strengths I think... Read More
Rated of 5
A very nice and interesting book, Anita has made all the characters very lively and the shifts in narrative focus has made the story and the realtionship of a mother and daughter even more clear.The journey of life, tragic experiences,... Read More
Rated of 5
by MD. MUJAHED ALI
i AM DEEPLY IMPRESSED BY READING MS. ANITA BADAMI's AUTO BIOGRAPHY & THE HER VISION ABOUT LIFE. PLEASE TRY TO WRITE A BOOK TO AVOID SUCH A RILIGION BASED KILLINGS, WHICH IS GOING ON IN INDIA. GOD WILL SURELY REWARD FOR YOUR EFFORTS TO BRING... Read More
On the night of December 3, 1984, Anjali waits for her husband to pick her up at the train station in Bhopal, India. In an instant, her world changes forever. Her anger at his being late turns to horror when a catastrophic gas leak poisons the city air. Anjali miraculously survives. Her marriage does not.
Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family, Anjali sets off to Bangalore where she falls in with an audacious and ambitious crowd of young people. However, the seductive pull of modernity does not come without a dark side . . .
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