A good woman

ratika-kapur

The Private Life of Mrs Sharma (Ratika Kapur, Bloomsbury) concerns a Delhi wife and mother whose husband is away working in Dubai and who fools herself into thinking that an innocent friendship struck up at a train station will not turn into an affair. More than a darkly amusing story set in modern India, this is a thoughtful book about talking – about how men and women and parents and children miscommunicate, use silence and words as weapons, chatter to cover darker feelings, and about how we talk ourselves around our hypocrisy.  The over-the-top ending perhaps shows a young writer trying too hard, but otherwise there is a clever psychological development throughout the plot. The book’s first-person monologue is actually a dialogue between Renuka Sharma and herself, as she both encourages and berates herself, as she justifies her behaviour, as she convinces herself that she is a ‘good woman’ even as she increasingly behaves in ways she disapproves of.

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