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Ladies Coupe [Kindle Edition]

Anita Nair
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.99
Kindle Price: $8.89
You Save: $10.10 (53%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

Meet Akhila: forty-five and single, an income-tax clerk, and a woman who has never been allowed to live her own life - always the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the provider - until the day she gets herself a one-way ticket to the seaside town of Kanyakumari. In the intimate atmosphere of the all-women sleeping car - the 'Ladies Coupe' - Akhila asks the five women the question that has been haunting her all her adult life: can a woman stay single and be happy, or does she need a man to feel complete?

This wonderfully atmospheric, deliciously warm novel takes the reader into the heart of women's lives in contemporary India, revealing how the dilemmas that women face in their relationships with hunsbands, mothers, friends, employers and children are the same world over.



Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At 45, Akhila awakes one day with a "fight-or-flight" notion. So she boards a train's ladies coupe (a segregated, second-class compartment found on most overnight Indian trains until 1998) and journeys from Bangalore to Kanyakumari. After her father's death many years ago, she became the head of her family's household. Breadwinner and martyr, she has sacrificed her desires to fulfill her family's wants and needs. A question has long weighed on her mind: Can a woman live without a man and be happy? The women Akhila meets on the train car respond with their life experiences. Nair's novel is feminist, but it is much more than that as Nair sensitively explores the intimate feelings of her women characters not only in vivid descriptions of their Indian lives, but also in the pleasure they take in something as simple as enjoying a forbidden egg. Nair is a powerful writer, who through this tender story shows great understanding and compassion for all women and for the choices and regrets they cannot avoid. Janet St. John
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Praise for Ladies Coupe

"Modern India's vivid, sticky beauty is evoled beautifully...Nair's compassion for her characters shines through every carefully chosen word."
- Sunday Tribune

"Nair's strength lies in bringing alive the everyday thoughts, desires and doubts of these six ordinary women."
- Times Literary Supplement

"A deeply serious, enjoyably lucid book about real terrors and joys, full of sensual and surprising details."
- Scotland on Sunday

"Nair conveys her protagonist's dilemmas with a freshness and charm."
- The Times

Product Details

  • File Size: 423 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312320876
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004UND7SU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!! March 13, 2005
Format:Paperback
Ladies Coupe is one one best books that I have ever had the pleasure to read. Although it is set in India I believe that women of all enthic and religious backgrounds can relate in some way to Akhila. The roles of women and the expectations of family and culture on a womans purpose in life is beautifully explored in rich and touching detail. Akhila is 45 and has always been a dutiful eldest daughter. Her wants and needs have alsways taken second to a family who never appreciated her sacrifices.

Finally after years spent living by the rules and expecations of her family and culture Akhila decides to do something for herself regardless of what anyone else thinks. This is the beginnning of a journey of self discovery and life altering changes.

On the train Akhila meets four other women in the all women sleeping car; the Ladies Coupe. These women share thier life stories including the love and the heartaches.

I won't go into details about each womens story because I do not want to spoil the story. However, each womans story was just as touching as Akhilas.

This book asks the question that women no matter where they are from have been faced with at one point in their lives. Can a womans life be complete without a man and children?

For Akhila's answer you have to read the book.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Before early 1998 special counters for women, senior citizens and the handicapped were in Indian train stations in addition to ladies coupes in most overnight trains with second-class reservation compartments. The premise of Anita Nair's LADIES COUPE is based on this historical practice of granting women a separate space away from the eyes of strange men in the hustle and bustle of train travel throughout India, enabling women to talk about their marraiges away from the ears of their husbands.
When we first meet Akhila she is embarking on an extended train journey for reasons unknown. Her status in Indian society is precarious; she is a 45-year-old unmarried working. Akhila's traveling companions in her ladies coupe are immediately curious of her situation, but as time progresses and she reveals her life story the other women are not necessarily of the opinion that her life would be complete with a husband.
As their train rambles through the Indian countryside each woman tells her own story of childhood and marriage including grime circumstances highlighting lost liberties and unfilled love. There is not an overall happy story in the bunch. It is apparent that the status of contemporary Indian women is the focus of this book and of general concern to Anita Nair. What is most interesting is that men are not simply the enemy; rather, the portrayal of Akhila's younger sister as being selfish and vindictive illustrates how women can also deter the fulfillment of other women.
LADIES COUPE provides an intriguing glimpse into a small group of contemporary Indian women of different generations. This book is a good addition to the already growing selection of Indian literature. Also recommended is Rupa Bajwa's The Sari Shop and Samina Ali's Madras on Rainy Days.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Women's universe February 24, 2006
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book. It has an interesting narrative: in six stories different women are presented. Akhila's story, a 45-year old woman, who is seeking contentment in life, is the thread through the book and indeed we read it to the end curious to find out if she will be able to make the necessary decisions. This is a great book in which to find the common denominator in the universe of women's experiences. We are invited to consider if cultural, regional differences are indeed not just outward, cosmetic as it were, differences. And in the process discover that whether the woman is named Akhila, in India, Nicole in France, Mary Ann in the US or Mercedes in Mexico their stories can and often are very similar. This is a book filled with strong women, who took the reins of their lives in their hands and conquered. Sometimes it was just some small territory but enough to give each of them more power in her life. They suffer the consequences, but they LIVED! This is a book that liberates a woman's soul. Five stars!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose ! Do not miss it! August 11, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have read many books from indian authors. This one really touch me. It helps you understand what women in different cultures have to go thru in order to be independent and how different women see things differently! It makes you question your self why you want to live your life the way you do...
Do not miss it. Is is a beautiful written book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Anita Nair's writing style is fluid however as a vivid reader of Tamil short stories and novels, I find the plots (both the main plot and sub plots) and the various metaphors and expressions used in the book to be things I have already encountered. May be the target audience of this book (probably not tamilians like me) justifies such usage.

Also, I found this to be a loosely cobbled together collection of short stories than a coherent novel. Each woman pours her heart out and says bye-bye. A better background than a rather uneventful train travel could have better forged the characters. It is also not clear if Akila derives any thoughts about her situation from the experiences of others. Given the ambiguous ending, it is not even clear if she came to some conclusion of what her future should be.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
The author captured the essence of being a wife in an environment where women are constrained. She explores the ups and downs of womanhood from various perspectives. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Olalekan W Afolabi
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
This was a well-written story with beautiful stories told by inspiring characters. The characterisation was well-thought out. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Vee Yendoll
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable book.
I found this book to be engaging, well written & an interesting read. The author pulled me into the story.
It's a book I would like to read again. Read more
Published 11 months ago by The Purple Bee
5.0 out of 5 stars Akila - A Trendsetting Modern Woman
This novel about Akila's life was engrossing, and the path she travels and the decision she takes were masterfully portrayed by Anita Nair in her own way. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Maverick Peter
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
I must confess that I did not finish reading this book. I found it much too sophomoric and trite. The characters came across as bland as was the writing style.
Published 21 months ago by onegirlsopinion
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected
I enjoyed reading the book and experiencing another culture, but still being able to feel connected to the characters through the common bond of being female. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Shannon
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult
Was a slow starter......couldn't keep my interest. It was suggested for our book club by a woman who is repressed by her husband and she was drawn to this book.
Published 23 months ago by Roxi
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put this down!
Much to my family's dismay (who I am visiting) I stayed up LATE two nights in a row to finish this book, rendering myself useless until late morning. Read more
Published 23 months ago by RadioGirl2
5.0 out of 5 stars She Drew Me In
The book was a random pick off the shelf. I opened the pages and it just drew me in. Nair's writing style is so refreshing. Read more
Published on October 13, 2012 by P. Greenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I am not the most famaliar person with Indian culture, what I do know is from Slumdog Millionaire, one or two travel books and talking with a few. Read more
Published on May 20, 2012 by stephanie
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