The daughters of Madurai

by Variyar, Rajasree,

Format: Print Book 2023
Availability: Available at 9 Libraries 9 of 12 copies
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The Daughters of Madurai is both a page-turning mystery and a heartrending story of the fraught family dynamics and desperate choices that face a young mother in India. S panning 1990s South India and present-day Australia, the novel follows Janani, a mother who will do anything to save her unborn daughter, and Nila, a young woman who embarks on a life-changing journey of self-discovery.

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 as Alka 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.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Variyar explores the impact of infanticide on an Indian Australian family in her wrenching debut. In 2019 Sydney, Nila struggles with coming out to her parents as a lesbian. When she learns her paternal grandfather is terminally ill, she agrees to visit him with her parents in India. A parallel narrative set in 1990s Madurai follows Nila's mother, Janani, as a young woman struggling with extreme poverty, an abusive mother-in-law, Vandhana; a drunken husband; and the loss of two baby girls to murder. Girls are useless, according to Vandhana, who arranges for the killing of Janani's babies, and a woman who can't produce a son, even more so. After Janani becomes pregnant again with another girl, she enlists the help of her friends Shubha and Sanjay (the latter of whom becomes Nila's father when he and Janani eventually marry) and Sanjay's aunt Priya to fight back against a tradition that would demand she murder her child. Though the love story between Sanjay and Janani is a bit drawn out, and there are some unnecessary late-breaking plot turns, the gripping account of the family's struggle to save Nila will keep readers on the hook, as will the tension between Nila and Janani as Nila tries to find a way to share her identity. Despite its flaws, the complex mother-daughter story will move readers. (Feb.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Mothers and daughters -- Fiction.
Family secrets -- Fiction.
Female infanticide -- India -- Fiction.
Madurai (India) -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Publisher New York, NY :Union Square & Co.,2023
Language English
Description 329 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9781454948766
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