Those Women of the Coromandel
Author: Ranga Rao
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
I opted for this book because of its mystical cover that evokes a sense of spiritual mystery. Bena Sareen has, indeed, done a great job. Those Women of the Coromandel is a blend of political yet amusing ways in which people try to pass the exam of life. Revolving around the lives of three women, this story is sure to leave behind a lingering flavour.
Miss Beston is an English entrepreneur who is not only wise but friendly. She knows when someone needs advice. She knows when to do what’s needed. Granny Appachchi and Worker Aunt are co- sisters and they come in contact with Miss Beston when they are young and playful. The premise of the story explores the pathos that’s evident in these women’s lives and the narrative toys with the idea of survival amidst patriarchy and misogyny. Set in the 19th century, the story unravels several perspectives, each different from another. While Miss Beston’s demeanor serves as a balm to the soul, the co-sisters never fail to display their indomitable spirit.
Rao’s lively narrative and highly-coloured characters add so much substance to this prose. The rich descriptions of the people, their behaviour, their mannerisms and the satire on some of the common flaws that daunt the human mind are more than fair compensation for his work that involves a lot of stock characters. The writing is not verbose. Overall, Those Women of the Coromandel is a delightful read.
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