Custody- Manju Kapur
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Custody- Manju Kapur

Custody

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Custody is set in the Delhi of the 90s, at the time of economic liberalization in India. It deals with two families, both of them essentially middle class, with a middle class emphasis on marriage if the child is female and education if the child is male.

Different parts of Delhi represent different social strata. South Delhi is the city of rising MNC executives, with large salaries, and stressful, competitive jobs. East Delhi is largely devoted to housing societies, societies which have enabled many salaried people in financially unexciting jobs, to own a home of their own. Tees Hazari or the lower courts are located in North Delhi, where the particularly painful divorce and custody battles of Shagun and Raman are fought. The lives of the characters play out in these discrete areas, with parents, in-laws and children tossed around in the battle of who owns who.

The Immigrant A Novel- Manju Kapur
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The Immigrant A Novel- Manju Kapur

The Immigrant

About This Book

Crossing from one culture to another, what does it do to you? How do you cope when every single thing around you is different, and that too married to a man you barely know?

How does shuttling between two countries, if not physically, then mentally and emotionally, constantly jumping from one to another in your head, affect your behavior, your thoughts, your feelings?  After a while, can you even recognize yourself?

Living in another country can be liberating. You are freed from expectations, from society, friends, family, you are free to be yourself.

But what is that self that can live separated from all these ties? Is there one at all? 
The Immigrant explores these issues.

The story, set in Halifax, Canada and Delhi, India, deals with Nina, a thirty year old college teacher, who leaves her job, her family and her country to marry a dentist, Ananda, who is an immigrant in Canada.

The Immigrant, Random House, India, 2008,  Faber And Faber, 2008.

Home Book Manju Kapur
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Home Book Manju Kapur

Home

About This Book

Home illustrates  the ways in which joint families function, how they can be both restrictive and supportive, confining and secure.  This is normal to families in general, but in a joint family the whole experience is heightened as well as varied by the numbers involved. The status of a relative, his/ her misery or happiness depends on much: how they are placed in the pecking order, their gender, their wealth and connections [if they marry in],  their fairness [also construed as beauty so far as women are concerned],  their ability to win supporters, their willingness to subsume themselves,  their closeness to the ones in power, are  factors that influence the bonds  members form with each other.

A Married Woman - Manju Kapur
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A Married Woman - Manju Kapur

A Married Woman

About This Book

A Married Woman grew out of the concerns that infused Difficult Daughters. The backdrop to the story is the demolition of the Babri Masjid [December 6th, 1992].   What does one do with such communal hatred?   How live with it, how deal with it, how does it affect your daily life?

The book spans over thirty years, a time of change for both the city and  the middle classes. Astha, the protagonist, goes from a girl whose main desire is to marry happily, have a home and children, to a woman who, when the dream fades, chooses to assert herself politically, sexually and artistically. Hemant, her husband, goes from an American educated son of a bureaucrat, to an entrepreneur manufacturing TVs, changing inevitably in the process. Pipee, Astha’s closest friend becomes an ardent activist in response to the communal hatred she encounters and does her best to  inspire in Astha a similar commitment.  Just about everything in Astha’s life forces her towards choices she finds almost impossible to make, given her conventional upbringing.

Difficult Daughters - Manju Kapur
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Difficult Daughters - Manju Kapur

Difficult Daughters

About This Book

Difficult Daughters was my first book. It took eight years to see the light of day, years in which I learned to write, edit, to accept rejections from agents and publishers, from India and abroad, learned to live with hope deferred.

The story that came to be written, and it was trial and error all the way, was based very loosely on my mother’s life. That’s my mother’s picture that you can see on many editions of Difficult Daughters, and the man in the same sepia tints is my father.

Shaping the World Manju Kapur
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Shaping the World Manju Kapur

Shaping the World

About This Book

When I was  asked to edit an anthology what came to mind was   a collection I have long wished to read; narratives by women from the sub-continent  detailing  their writerly selves.   For years I had devoured  accounts  by writers from other  parts of the world  describing  their creative processes but when I  turned to writing, I wanted to  discover experiences closer to home. What did others like me have to say about  their vocation, their craft, the  ways in which they  nurtured it?

For many older writers finding an author community has been  an issue. When we took up our pens, whose example was there before us?  Whose voice did we have echoing in our ears that would validate ours?  We   had the English Literature  we grew up  with, the British school and adventure stories   we consumed, with descriptions, personal appearances, names, foods and places that were  foreign to our context. When it came time to write, this is what we had to work against. Fortunately in the sub-continent today, younger writers are able to start out with more confidence in  their subject matter. There are enough role models around to give legitimacy to almost every local topic under the sun.