Women, Dreaming (HB)
Illustrated by Meena Kandasamy
9780670090976 | HB | pp. 384 | 2020 | Penguin Random House
Women, Dreaming by Salma, translated into English by Meena Kandasamy, tells stories that take us into the inner world of women who do not know the outside world.
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Mehar dreams of freedom and a life with her children. Asiya dreams of her daughter’s happiness. Sajida dreams of becoming a doctor. Subaida dreams of the day when her family will become free of woes. Parveen dreams of a little independence, a little space for herself in the world. Mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, neighbours …
In a tiny Muslim village in Tamil Nadu, the lives of these women are sustained by the faith they have in themselves, in each other, and the everyday compromises they make.
Salma’s storytelling-crystalline in its simplicity, patient in its unravelling-enters this interior world of women, held together by love, demarcated by religion, comforted by the courage in dreaming of better futures.
Women, Dreaming is a beautiful novel by writer and activist Salma, translated exquisitely from the Tamil by Meena Kandasamy.
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About the Contributors
The author is is a writer of poetry and fiction. Based in the small town of Thuvarankurichi, she is recognized as a writer of growing importance in Tamil literature. Her work combines a rare outspokenness about taboo areas of the traditional Tamil women’s experience with a language of compressed intensity and startling metaphoric resonance. She has faced great adversity-including obscenity charges and violent threats for her erotic poetry, and living locked away by her family-to also become a major political leader and campaigner for women’s rights. She is the subject of an eponymous documentary film by Kim Longinotto. Her debut novel, The Hour Past Midnight, was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Women, Dreaming is her second novel.
The translator is also a poet, fiction writer and activist who lives in Chennai and London. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch and Ms. Militancy, and the critically acclaimed novels The Gypsy Goddess and When I Hit You, Or, The Portrait of the Writer As a Young Wife, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018. She is the editor of the poetry collection Desires Become Demons (Tilted Axis Press 2019), in which her translations of four Tamil women poets are included alongside some by the late Lakshmi Holmström. Exquisite Cadavers is her latest novel.
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