A major preoccupation in recent Indian women's writing has been a delineation of inner life and subtle interpersonal relationships. In a culture where individualism and protest have often remained alien ideas, and marital bliss and the woman's role at home is a central focus, it is interesting to see the emergence of not just an essential Indian sensibility but an expression of cultural displacement. Manju Kapur has joined the growing number of women writers from India on whom the image of the suffering but stoic woman eventually breaking traditional boundaries has had a significant impact. Manju Kapur lives in Delhi, where she teaches English at a women's college at the University of Delhi.
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Return to Book Page. A Married Woman by Manju Kapur. Astha has everything an educated, middle-class Delhi woman could ask for - a loving husband and affluent surroundings - and yet is consumed with a sense of dissatisfaction.
She begins an extra-marital affair with a younger woman, the widow of a political activist and jeopardizes everything. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews.
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Sort order. Start your review of A Married Woman. Feb 19, Gorab Jain rated it liked it Shelves: indian , owned-paperbacks , family-buddies , z The character portrayal of Astha with her mental turmoils and lead up to her marriage was also great.
Even the relationships were etched nicely. The latter part felt rushed up without much impact. Overall liked it okay, and would love to explore other works of this author. View 1 comment. History tends to ignore or undervalue those who are nameless and do the chores. Grocery money is so not important. In some ways, this is also true about books.
We prefer to read novels with people doing things, discovering things, whacking things, screwing things. Okay, maybe screwing people and not things, but you take my point. Conflict sells for a variety of reasons, yet we are missing something with conflict all the time. Ashta is making her way through life — a desire to be who she is, or to at the very least discover who she is — as well as to follow the traditional roles that are laid out for her.
What happens are conflicts between duty and art, the survival of a marriage and the discovery of a new passion. The book is quiet. In fact, it is hard at times to feel as if something more major must happen.
There is something off about those diary entries. May 22, Bhargavi Balachandran rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , borrowed-books , easwari , read-in , women-lit , contemporary-indian-author.
I remember a few bloggers reviewing Manju Kapur's books positively and had wanted to pick something up by her for the longest time. My library had a couple of books by her and for some strange reason I was attracted to this book. Guess it had something to do with the fact that I was intrigued by the storyline- about a relationship an older woman has with a younger one and wanted to see how the subject's been handled by an Indian writer.
Astha is a middle class woman ,who lives in Delhi with her hu I remember a few bloggers reviewing Manju Kapur's books positively and had wanted to pick something up by her for the longest time. Astha is a middle class woman ,who lives in Delhi with her husband, two children and in-laws.
She has everything a woman would need, but still has niggles of dissatisfaction bubbling in her. The story is really about how Astha changes from a unsure,college girl who has dreams of a mills and boons- type hero swooping in and carrying her away to a mature ,middle-aged woman who feels a little alienated in her marriage as time passes. Manju's writing is not spectacular ,but she adroitly captures the essence of trials and tribulations of a middle class family in the 80's.
She takes time to build characters,but does a good job of keeping the reader glued to the pages. I am sure a lot of people will relate to a lot of things Astha or her family goes through like how they struggle to buy their first house or what is perceived to be the role of a woman in a traditional Indian household. The beginning of Astha's "rebellion" against conforming to the norm starts when she starts taking interest in conceiving a play about the Babri Masjid troubles.
She meets like minded people and drifts off into the world of activism. Her family's attitude towards her activism enrages her all the more and she inadvertently falls in love with Pipee, an NGO worker. Their relationship has friendship as a base and deepens into something more as time passes. The rest of the story is about what happens to the relationship between Pipee and Astha and also how Astha manages a double life- the life of a lover of a woman and that of a married woman with kids and responsibilities.
The intimate scenes between Astha and Pipee have been handled very sensitively by Manju,so have the incidents surrounding the Babri Masjid demolition and riots. At times Pipee came across as an overly selfish, immature person. Hemant Astha's husband is portrayed realistically with many idiosyncrasies.
Some might feel that Hemant's demands on his wife were excessively unrealistic,but I guess he represents how a lot of Indian men were like in the eighties. The backdrop of political agitation imparts a bitter-sweet tinge to the main story. Manju switches from a third person narrative to a first person narrative where she captures Astha's take on the activism directly somewhere in the middle of the book. The abrupt change seemed a little weird and makes the narrative choppy.
Overall, an okay read. Not brilliant,but entertaining and a thought-provoking piece of fiction. I recommend it people who like Indian writing.
View all 6 comments. It was pretty disappointing. I had expected more from Manju Kapur. Its the story of Astha an ordinary middle class girl who has an 'arranged marriage' and then comes to know life is not a bed of roses. A few stereotypical issues are dealt with, with great bias. I am fed up that there should be lesbian sex in any book which vouches for woman uplifting. Can't women seem hep and forward and in control of their lives, without being lesbians or free-from-the-bond of marriage.
I feel Astha has treated It was pretty disappointing. I feel Astha has treated her husband and kids far worse than they have treated her. There's quite a lot about the Babri Masjid issue too. View all 4 comments. May 10, Roxana rated it really liked it. A few months ago I had the privilege to meet this wonderful young girl who chose to be a missionary and help poor children in India.
She told me about her trips and experiences there and I realized that to my shame I knew nothing about the reality of this large country. I am not sure it is the best book ever written about India but I A few months ago I had the privilege to meet this wonderful young girl who chose to be a missionary and help poor children in India.
I am not sure it is the best book ever written about India but I read it with enthusiasm as I had no previous knowledge and it offered me enough information to delineate my own ideas. In my own library at home in Spain there laid a novel written by an Indian woman writer that I had bought in Madrid one day, I had tried to read and then had left untouched but not forgotten on a shelf, its misteries still to be discovered. I know now that everything happens for a reason, as I am glad I did not read that book then, not before I read the other one that gave me a glimpse on India, its customs, religions, government, economics, poverty etc.
As it happens, I am part of a reading website where I saw that this book did not have very good reviews. I wondered why, but now as it is finished I think the explanation is that those people did not bother to go farther and wonder about Indian reality. In fact, I read it rather quickly and impatiently as it seemed to me to give shape and provide an example of what India is. It is the story of a woman who feels trapped in a matrimony with a rather traditional husband who does not understand her.
She becomes an activist and she even falls in love and has an affair with another woman. The issues revealed by Manju Kapur make her very bold in my eyes. She talks about religious fanaticism, feminism, activism, bisexualism, governmental corruption, poverty, assassination, struggle for Indian unity. I strongly recommend this book especially to my female friends as I am sure that men may not completely understand some of the issues emphasized in this book and may not have the patience to read it to its end.
A Married Woman
The tender and funny story of family life across three generations of Delhi shopkeepers. Manju Kapur is the author of four novels. Her first, Difficult Daughters , received tremendous international acclaim, won the Commonwealth Prize for First Novels Eurasia Section , and was a number one bestseller in India. Her second novel A Married Woman was called 'fluent and witty' in the Independent , while her third, Home , was described as 'engaging, glistening with detail and emotional acuity' in the Sunday Times. Her most recent novel, The Immigrant , was called 'intensely readable' in the Daily Mail and 'admirable and enjoyable' by the Guardian. She lives in New Delhi.
Lesbian passion forged in a land of turmoil
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