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The Daughters of Madurai: A Novel Kindle Edition
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Madurai, 1992. A young mother in a poor family, Janani is told she is useless if she can’t produce a son—or worse, if she bears daughters. They let her keep her first baby girl, but the rest are taken away as soon as they are born, and murdered. But Janani can’t forget the daughters she was never allowed to love . . .
Sydney, 2019. Nila has a secret; one she’s been keeping from her parents for too long. Before she can say anything, her grandfather in India falls ill, so she agrees to join her parents on a trip to Madurai. Nila knows little about where her family came from or who they left behind. What she’s about to learn will change her forever.
While The Daughters of Madurai explores the harrowing issue of female infanticide, it’s also a universal story about the bond between mothers and daughters, the strength of women, the power of love in overcoming all obstacles—and the secrets we must keep to protect the ones we hold dear.
Fans of historical and contemporary fiction novels about India such asAlka Joshi’s The Henna Artist from the Jaipur Trilogy and Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us, as well as Kristin Hannah’s books exploring sisterhood and mother-daughter relationships will enjoy Variyar’s poignant debut. This extraordinary work of fiction tells a story that deserves to be read and discussed for years to come.
From the Publisher
Rajasree Variyar is an author and short story writer born in Bangalore and raised in Sydney. Her short stories won second prize in the Shooter Literary Magazine short story competition and were longlisted for the Brick Lane Bookshop short story competition. The Daughters of Madurai is Variyar’s debut novel, inspired by a childhood memory of a news segment about a case of female infanticide in her birthplace of Bangalore—and her experience spending time with a grassroots charity in Madurai empowering women and educating girls and boys to help eradicate the practice. A marathoner and self-described history nerd, she lives in London.
“A haunting, powerful novel [about] a trauma that endures and spawns secrets that spread through the generations. . . . The Daughters of Madurai is also about the cleansing effects of modernity and love and hope.”—Thrity Umrigar, bestselling author of The Space Between Us
"Bursting with the vivid colors, sounds, and scents of India past and present, The Daughters of Madurai is a searing, heartrending story about the fierce love between mothers and daughters. This novel gripped me from the opening page. It continues to haunt me."—Lauren Belfer, New York Times bestselling author of And After the Fire and Ashton Hall.
“The Daughters of Madurai is a captivating and riveting debut from an unforgettable new voice.”—Louise O’Neill, author of Asking for It
“A moving debut.”—Cosmopolitan (UK) --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
About the Author
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B0BFJRKV5D
- Publisher : Union Square & Co. (February 28, 2023)
- Publication date : February 28, 2023
- Language : English
- File size : 3780 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 338 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1454948760
- Best Sellers Rank: #117,821 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #714 in Cultural Heritage Fiction
- #1,291 in Mothers & Children Fiction
- #15,058 in Women's Fiction (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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And it’s about the fragility of being human. About the push and pull between life and death. But also about resilience and courage.
Rajasree expertly explores what it means to be a woman in southern India, the ugly truth about female infanticide, and the socioeconomic and caste divides that plague India still.
It reminded me of the bitterness of women caught in and even perpetuating an interminable cycle of patriarchy and misogyny. And how different and better a woman’s life can be with the support of other women. It made me think about the big ways and the little ways that sexism happens. And it made me feel very strongly that I will do everything to make sure to protect the women I know from it as best I can.
It’s also a story about roots. About reclaiming your history. It’s about identity, particularly for immigrants who sometimes belong to two worlds or to none.
This is not a fast paced thriller. It’s meant to be read slowly. I savored the words, imagined the world Rajasree describes so beautifully, felt the pain, and thought deep thoughts.
On a lighter note, it was amazing to see familiar foods, clothing, names, language in English literature. The story made me crave dosa and idli and sambar and parle G.
This is a family saga that just about tears your heart out, but then shows you how much love one is capable of in the midst of desperation.
Janani's story begins in Madurai, India in 1992 when she is giving birth to yet another girl. The first one she could keep, but not the next ones. Instead, they are taken and killed until she can bear a son.
In Sydney Australia in 2019, Nila is struggling to share a part of who she is. When her grandfather's health declines and the entire family returns to India, where her mother said she would never return, secrets long buried come to to the surface and change everything.
This is a heavy read for sure. While I have known "of" this type of behavior toward girls, this story brought this to life in a very real way. I honestly thought this was something relegated to long ago history, not the 1990's. There are obvious triggers for those who struggle with such subjects, but wow, did this story display the depth of a mother's love, as well as the love of partner. There was such a deep care by some of the characters, it made the horrendous actions done by others to be somehow survivable, but only barely. I was moved by Sanjay is such a deep way. I also felt it an interesting idea to contemplate who owns the stories of our past and who deserves to know it, despite the hurt it can cause.
This is a story that made me want to cast judgement. I tried really hard to allow the author to teach me and lead me into this story, showing me what she wanted. I ended up seeing a system that wounds women and those wounds continue through generations, compounding. It is also not beyond the bounds of love. But it may be beyond the reach of reconciliation.
Thank you again to @storygramtours for the gifted book! It is a gorgeously written drama and it is out now!
In 2019 Australia, Nila knows nothing about her mother’s early life in Australia. When the family travels to India for one last visit with her dying paternal grandfather, both mother and daughter hold onto secrets.
Daughters of Madurai is a heart-wrenching story of courage, hope, and the love between mother and daughter. The dual timeline narrative works really well here as the author shows the ending while managing to keep readers engaged and curious as the backstory unfolds.
It’s truly terrible to think that female infanticide is not a horrific tradition of bygone days. Variyar tells about this truly unsettling practice without drowning the reader in despair. Instead, readers are treated with care and given an ample dose of love and hope without sugarcoating. I found both storylines compelling and enjoyed spending time with both Janani and Nila. Variyar is immensely talented, I look forward to future novels.
This story about a young Indian woman and her families and choices is devastating, heart-wrenching but also heart warming and full of love.
The ending, the surprise blew me away and landed the already excellent book on my over-the-moon shelf.
Jannai's strength through adversity, the love she and Sanjay shared from when they we little was amazing. The beauty, nurturing and generosity of Sanjay's mama
Nila's anger at her mother for not sharing her story. Her mother was trying to protect her. She didn't understand until she knew. Wow! It was Nila's surprise at the very end that just took it to the next level for me.
The writing was absolutely wonderful. The author kept you reading and guessing until the last sweet surprise!
Top reviews from other countries
Janani keeps giving birth to daughters to the anger of her husband and mother-in-law who know they cannot afford to provide a dowry for them. Her husband asks her already poor parents for a higher dowry as their daughter cannot give him sons. It is an impossible situation but the novel is not all darkness. Janani escapes her background and has good friends in Sanjay and his family and her friend and the local midwife. Years later, In Australia, Janani cannot bear to tell her daugher their story but Nila, with a secret of her own, needs to know the truth.
This was a heart wrenching story and I had to wipe away a few tears but I would highly recommend it.
Provided by The Reading Agency and Orion