What the Body Remembers

What the Body Remembers

Product ID: 2518

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Author: Shauna Singh Baldwin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 1999
Language: English
Pages: 475
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0385600437


A heady mix of Punjab, Partition and womankind.

Never before has a novel of the Partition of India been told from the point of view of the Sikh community, never before through Sikh women's eyes. Beautifully written and profoundly shocking, Shauna Singh Baldwin's debut novel is at once poetic, political, feminist and sensual.

Deeply imbued with the languages, customs and layered history of colonial India, What the Body Remembers is a triumph of language and storytelling, reclaiming a strikingly intimate and vivid sense of the large and colorful canvas of India and Pakistan.

Roop is a village girl in Punjab in 1937. Her mother died in childbirth and her father is in deep debt, and so it is with elation that she learns she is to become the second wife of a wealthy Sikh landowner, Sardarji, whose first wife, Satya, is forty-two year old, and has failed to bear him any children. Roop initially believes that Satya will treat her as a sister, but it becomes obvious that their relationship is far more complicated as they begin to struggle for control over the children to be born and for the affection of their husband.

Roop's story pulls the reader immediately into her world, making it seem startlingly universal, but what the Body Remembers is not solely hers. It is very much Satya's story as she is forced to adopt ever more desperate measures to maintain her place in society and her husband's heart. And it is also Sardarji's story, as the India he knows and understands begins to change beneath his feet, the escalating tensions in his own family reflecting the changing dynamics between Sikh and Muslim that will lead to the cleaving of India, and trap the Sikhs in the middle of a horror wrought by the wresting of the land.