From Publishers Weekly
Sundaresan (The Twentieth Wife
) bluntly questions how evolved the globalized world truly is in these stories of individuals trapped between India's archaic traditions and blitz into modernity. In Three and a Half Seconds, Meha and Chandar's arranged but loving marriage blossoms regardless of the unease they feel regarding the violent peculiarities of their son, Bikaner. As their humble but hard working lives wind down, they become victims of abuse in the home that they share with Bikaner and his wife. In The Faithful Wife, Ram, a journalist, is called home by his grandmother to intervene in a sati, the immolation of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. The widow in this case is a 12-year-old girl. Finally, in Hunger, two women re-evaluate their own worth as well as their own definitions of love and happiness. The stories are sobering, all the more so for Sundaresan's nuanced character work and blistering social critique; she doesn't pull any punches in her heartbreaking and sometimes repulsive portrayals of oppressors and victims. (Dec.)
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About the Author
was born in India and grew up on Air Force bases all over the country. Her father, a fighter pilot, was also a storyteller—managing to keep his audiences captive and rapt with his flair for drama and timing. He got this from his
father, Indu's grandfather, whose visits were always eagerly awaited. Sundaresan’s love of stories comes from both of them, from hearing their stories based on imagination and rich Hindu mythology, and from her father's writings.
After an undergraduate degree in economics from India, Sundaresan came to the U.S. for graduate school at the University of Delaware and has an MS in operations research and an MA in economics. But all too soon, the storytelling gene beckoned.
The Twentieth Wife, Sundaresan’s first novel, won the 2003 Washington State Book Award. Her second novel, The Feast of Roses, is a sequel to the first and continues the story of Mehrunnisa, Empress Nur Jahan’s life as the most powerful woman of the Mughal dynasty that ruled India.