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Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A Novel Hardcover – June 13, 2017
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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“Jaswal tackles serious themes (arranged vs forced marriage, traditional vs modern culture) with a light and funny touvh. A page-turner your commute will thank you for.” (Glamour Magazine)
“By turns erotic, romantic, and mysterious, this novel of women defying patriarchial strictures enchants.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A page-turner your commute will thank you for. Tackles serious themes with a light and funny touch.” (Glamour (UK))
“Warm and hilariously funny.” (Good Housekeeping (UK))
“Heady stuff ... a funny and moving tale of desire and its discontents.” (The Economist)
“Charming ... This is a sparkling read.” (Publishers Weekly)
“I loved this novel—it’s so big-hearted and earthy and funny. Best of all, it turns many preconceptions upside down, and opens up a world that so many of us have only glimpsed. A rattlingly good story.” (Deborah Moggach, author of THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL)
From the Back Cover
Every woman has a secret life . . .
Nikki, a modern daughter of Indian immigrants, has spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.
The proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn English, not short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of erotica and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories that they’ve held in for far too long. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.
As the class grows, a group called the Brothers, who have appointed themselves Southall’s “moral police,” threaten to reveal the class's scandalous stories and the mysterious secrets lurking beneath this seemingly sedate, tight-knit community.
A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is a reader’s delight.
Top customer reviews
This book reminded me of Reading Lolita in Tehran but much more lighthearted and charming. As soon as you start the book you are immersed in the story, and oh, the story is just wonderful.
Overall I enjoyed this book and recommend it to all!
I didn’t know anything about the Sikh community of Southall, and the author does a good job of setting the atmosphere and making it feel like a whole world unto itself that I was interested in learning more about. The book alternates between the point of view of Nikki, who is modern/easy to relate to and Kulwinder (the woman who hired her), who is more traditional. This helps readers understand Nikki’s students better as well since we have an outside perspective about the same events that Nikki is reacting to.
I didn’t find Nikki to be a compelling protagonist, I couldn’t get a sense of who she was as a person. She doesn’t have a lot of agency, most of the book is just her reacting to events happening around her. Even the evolution of her class is pretty much entirely driven by her students, I didn’t see what she contributed to it. I’m also not a big fan of romantic subplots unless they’re done very well, and the one in this book was fairly generic, and it had a bunch of drama around my least favorite trope – people refusing to talk to other people. Actually, the rest of the drama around Nikki’s students wasn’t very interesting, either, mainly because the characters didn’t draw me in enough to care what their secrets were. However, Kulwinder’s story and growth arc brought the book up a notch, it’s a little melodramatic but she’s a more unique character and that helps.
The book is interspersed with examples of erotica produced by Nikki’s class, which also helps liven the book up a bit and provides some humor. Overall, I thought this was a pretty decent book, although I didn’t love it.
Huge thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for giving me an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. Although I received an ARC copy, I purchased the book and added it to my personal collection. :-)
If you're looking for a beach read you can really sink your teeth into, this book is for you. Complex, educational, and fun to read! What a stunning combination. Caution though, you wont want to put it down.
And as a bonus, reading this in public, as someone who is about as far from a Punjabi widow as you can get, was a real hoot.