1. THE FOREST OF ENCHANTMENTS BY CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version.
The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men.
2. THREE THOUSAND STITCHES BY SUDHA MURTHY
Sudha Murthy ,through the exceptional work of the Infosys Foundation as well as through her own youth, family life and travels-encounters many such stories and she tells them here in her characteristically clear-eyed, warm-hearted way. She talks candidly about the meaningful impact of her work in the devadasi community, her trials and tribulations as the only female student in her engineering college and the unexpected and inspiring consequences of her father’s kindness.
3. A WOMAN IS NO MAN BY ETAF RUM
A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.
4. THE LAST QUEEN BY CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI
An exquisite love story of a king and a commoner, a cautionary tale about loyalty and betrayal, and a powerful parable of the indestructible bond between mother and child, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s unforgettable novel brings alive one of the most fearless women of the nineteenth century, an inspiration for our times.
5. EROTIC STORIES BY PUNJABI WIDOWS BY BALLI JASWAL
Every woman has a secret life. Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty – these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.