Author: Anita Rau Badami
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143028340
A beautifully evocative novel about the ties of love and resentment that bind mothers and daughters. This novel weaves around you as all good stories do and clasps you in its embrace.
Kamini has recently moved to Canada. Plunged into the past by acrimonious telephone calls and odd postcards from her mother in India, she tries to make sense of the eccentric family she has left behind. Why was her mother so bitter with lot in life? And where did she disappear when Dadda was away on business?
Kaman's mother, Saroja, is an old woman when we meet her, traveling alone across India. As a young woman, we learn, her tongue was so sharp that her mother forced her to eat bitter gourd to blunt its edge, and people nicknamed her Tamarind Mem. Saroja's dream of becoming a doctor was thwarted when she was married off to a railway officer almost twice her age, who expected his household to run like a clockwork. Saroja tried being the perfect wife but was eventually faced with a difficult choice: she could either break the rules of the railway colony and follow her whims, or leave her discarded dreams to her daughters and remain the perfect memsahib.
Years later, Saroja's decisions return to haunt Kasmini.
PRAISE FOR ANITA RAU BADAMI, winner of the 2001 Commonwealth Prize
Tamarind Mem weaves a web around you as all good stories do and clasps you in its embrace. Anita has written a fine book with sensitivity and perspicacity, and with the right balance of interesting characters, conflict and conspiracy.
- The Hindu
Tamarind Mem is a skilful and compassionate family saga that is intimate, tender and revealing.
The Globe and Mail
Badami will be a major force in world literature.
Sunday Herald, Glasgow