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Small Remedies, by Shashi Deshpande

An intergenerational soap opera on the surface, it's really about the stages of grief, memory as an unreliable narrator, and coping.


Small Remedies

Penguin Books, 2000, 324 pages



Shashi Deshpande's latest novel explores the lives of two women, one obsessed with music and the other a passionate believer in Communism, who break away from their families to seek fulfilment in public life. Savitribai Indorekar, born into an orthodox Hindu family, elopes with her Muslim lover and accompanist, Ghulaam Saab, to pursue a career in music. Gentle, strong-willed Leela, on the other hand, gives her life to the Party, and to working with the factory workers of Bombay.

Fifty years after these events have been set in motion, Madhu, Leela's niece, travels to Bhavanipur, Savitribai's home in her last years, to write a biography of Bai. Caught in her own despair over the loss of her only son, Aditya, Madhu tries to make sense of the lives of Bai and those around her, and in doing so, seeks to find a way out of her own grief.


Cross-posted to 1001books.

Exquisitely-crafted Indian fiction about three very different women.
Tags: author: d, genre: fiction, review
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