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Small Remedies
by Shashi Deshpande      (Author ALERT)

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ProductID: 3469 - Hardcover - 324 Pages (Year: 2000/7)
Penguin/Viking ~ ISBN: 0670892513

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Buy Together: Small Remedies ($32.75) and Harvest Song - A Novel on the Tebhaga Movement ($29.45) Get

 Top 10 popular recommendations Description

A complex and hard-hitting novel of extraordinary emotional range, Small Remedies reaffirms Shashi Deshpande's standing as one of India's best writers of fiction.

Fifty years ago, life for women in India was governed almost entirely by male dictates, tradition, and most importantly, 'what the neighbors might say'. At such a time, two young women, one obsessed with music and the other a passionate believer in the Communist world-view, broke away from their families to seek fulfillment in public life.

Savitribai Indorekar, grande dame of the Gwalior gharana, started her adult life as a dutiful daughter-in-law in an orthodox Hindu household, but eloped with her Muslim lover and accompanist Ghulaam Saab. Leela, on the other hand, gave her life to the Party, to working closely with the factory workers of Bombay.

The stories of these two women - independent spirits both, who gave up respectability to gain love and unhappiness in equal measure - form the core of Small Remedies, Shashi Deshpande's new novel.

The narrator of the novel is Madhu, Leela's niece who travels to Bhavanhipur, Savitirbai's home in her last years, to write a biography of Bai. Even as a child Madhu had been intrigued by Bai's relationship with Ghulaam Saab and with Munni, their daughter. Now, grieving the loss of her only son Aditya, Madhu tries to make sense of the lives of these three people, in doing so, hopes to find a way out of her own despair.

As the story unfolds, she back and forth in time, drawing out, remembering, and retelling the stories of Leela, Bai, and Munni. And always in the foreground is Madhu's own story - of a life transformed in one traumatic moment that took away everything she had love and believed in: her marriage, her son and, very nearly, her sanity.


 About the Author

Shashi Deshpande was born in Karnataka, daughter of the renowned Kannada writer and Sanskrit scholar, Shriranga. She has degrees in Economics and Law as well as a postgraduate degree in English and a diploma in Journalism. Her writing career began after the birth of her two sons, with a collection of short stories, The Legacy which came out in 1978. Since then four more collections have been published.She is also the author of four children's books and six novels, the best known of which, That Long Silence, received the Sahitya Akademi award. Two of her other novels, The Dark Holds No Terror and Roots and Shadows have also received major awards. Her work has also been translated into a number of Indian and foreign languages.

 Customer Review(s)

Rating: (3 out of 5) Suffering Acknowledged: Small Remedies or …
Women in Small Remedies are really sensitive beings but unable to display what they really intend to. Either their voices are unheard or misinterpreted. The characters in the novel are portrayed in a way that they are under some influence. They cannot face the reality individually because they mostly depend on someone else shadow which has been a tradition.

Deshpande's heroine and her co-participants remain ideal but intend to do something to the society. Both Savitri and Leela in Small Remedies appear as independent and signficant. Each having the sentiments of dissimilar nature. Breaking the tradition is of a late thinking and they are unable to present themselves. Their search for peace and harmony is out of their orthodoxy.

Deshpande feels that the women are under pressure. Even though they are described, the major influence on them is from outside sources. Deshpande, on the other hand, draws a true picture of these characters with all the traditional bondages. Wherever or whatever the moment may be, both the minor and the major level of the characters search for their true sence and find nothing.


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