Holding the child in the crook of her arm, her mother stood up and walked towards the river.
‘Where are you going?’ Sita yelled, filled by new confusion.
‘I must wash her clean,’ her mother replied.
Wading knee deep into the water, she lowered the child into the soft lapping swell, holding her there, caressing her tenderly all the while with her one free hand. For a moment Sita saw the child in her mother’s arms and the next she was gone, the tide lifting her free. Sita watched her float away, held briefly upon the rippling surface of the river before she sank slowly from sight, eyes open, a startled expression on her small face, uttering no cry of protest.
‘Amma!’ Sita screamed.
‘She was just a girl.’ Her mother spoke softly, her voice thick and strange.
Orphaned as a child and widowed at thirteen, Sita has always known the shame of being born female in Indian society. Her life constrained and shaped by the men around her, she could not be more different from her daughter, Amita, a headstrong university professor determined to live life on her own terms. While trying to unravel the mysteries in her mother’s past, Amita encounters a traumatic event that would lead her down the path of self-discovery.
Unfolding simultaneously, their stories are set against the dramatic sweep of the early 20th century, from rural India to the chaotic Burmese battlefront to modern-day Singapore. Richly layered and beautifully evocative, the novel is a compelling exploration of two women’s struggle to assert themselves in male-dominated societies of both the part and the present.
“Chand proves herself a master of the modern Asian epic in this tale …she endows her characters with humanity and complexity, …grounding …their histories in solid research, and she offers a credible, compelling panorama of the tragedy and resilience, culture and individuality, political evolution, dissolution, and renaissance of 20th-century Singapore.”
— Publishers Weekly, starred review, September 2011
“…a panoramic page-turner…The epic sweep..[of]…this meticulously researched book is alive with engrossing detail…”
— The Guardian, October 2010
Marshall Cavendish International (Asia)
Marshall Cavendish is an international publisher that publishes books, directories, magazines and digital platforms. Our philosophy of enriching life through knowledge transcends boundaries of geography and culture. In line with this vision, our products reach across the globe in 13 languages, and our publishing network spans Asia and the USA.
Our brands have garnered international awards for educational excellence, and they include Marshall Cavendish Reference, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, Marshall Cavendish Children, Marshall Cavendish Education and Marshall Cavendish Editions. Several have also achieved household name status in the international market.
We ceaselessly explore new avenues to convey our products to the world, with our extensive variety of genres, languages and formats. In addition, our strategy of business expansion has ensured that the reach and benefits of Marshall Cavendish’s products extend across the globe, especially into previously uncharted markets in China and Eastern Europe.
Our aspiration to further the desire for lifelong learning and self-development continues to guide our efforts as we stride into the new century.
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