One morning, with no warning, Gopal, respected professor, devoted husband, and caring father, walks out on his family for reasons even he cannot articulate. His wife, Sumi, returns with their three daughters to the shelter of the Big House, where her parents live in oppressive silence: they have not spoken to each other in thirty-five years. As the mystery of this long silence is unraveled, a horrifying story of loss and pain is laid bare - a story that seems to be repeating itself in Sumi's life.
Set in present-day Karnataka, A Matter of Time explores the intricate relationships within an extended family, encompassing three generations. Images from Hindu religion, myth, and local history intertwine delicately with images of contemporary India as the women of this family face and accept the changes that have suddenly become part of their lives.
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Shashi Deshpande is one of India's most distinguished living authors. She has written seven novels, including A Matter of Time, as well as several volumes of short stories and a number of children's books. She is the winner of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award.
In her first, somewhat charmless book to be published here, Indian writer Deshpande tells a story familiar to readers in the West: a family crisis is triggered when a husband walks out on his wife. Deshpande, the author of 80 stories and seven novels, begins her tale briskly. When Gopal leaves his wife, Sumi, for reasons that are, at first, unexplained, he opens a wound in her through which her familys legacy pours onto the page. While very little actually happens here, dozens of chapters are spent retelling the history of Sumis people. Bearing her husbands sudden and unexpected departure with unexpected fortitude, Sumi relocates herself and her three daughters to the Big House, her family home. Sumis mother, Kalyani, lives there with her husband, Shripati, whose own abandonment of his wife is recalled. Manorama, Kalyanis mother and Sumis grandmother, quietly presides over the unfolding family story, which is rich in abandonments and betrayals. Finally, Aru, one of Sumi's daughters, completes the circle, and it is her fate in the context of her familys historical patterns that provides much of the intrigue. The fragments of this history are often moving, but they seem a loose jumble, lacking the particular flavor of a specific perspective. Given the complexity of Sumis family tree, Deshpandes failure to clearly demarcate her charactersreaders will be hard-pressed to say what any of them actually looks likemakes for a thinly presented present time, through which recollections dart quickly into view. After a tragedy at the close, Gopal suffers an existential crisis of meaning in his life. Aru sends him away, freshly fortified among the women of her family. The concept herethat the patterns of family history sustain the women who are able to confront and cooperate with themis compelling, but the execution, with rare exception, is rather dull. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description The Feminist Press at CUNY, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New item. May have light shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # 161105054
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