Women Dreaming


translated from the Tamil by Meena Kandasamy
Tilted Axis 2020
A book review by Danny Yee © 2023 https://dannyreviews.com/
Set in a poor Muslim village in Tamil Nadu, Women Dreaming traces the effects of a divorce on the lives of some half a dozen women.

When Hasan, turned religious zealot after a sojourn in Saudi Arabia, takes a second wife, Mehar divorces him. That severely disrupts their lives and those of their son Ashraf and daughter Sajida, but also those of Mehar's mother Asiya, Hasan's mother Subaida and sister Parveen, and his blind great aunt. And then Mehar herself remarries...

Told in episodes of a few pages, in a simple, spare prose, Women Dreaming unfolds without major surprises and with a feeling almost of inevitability. But we come to identify with the characters, with Sajida's dreams of becoming a doctor, Parveen's dreams of love, Mehar's dreams of her children, and even Hasan's desperate longing for respect.

Women Dreaming is an engaging novel and, for outsiders, a compelling portrait of the social constraints of a village — brought into contrast by a brief sojourn by Mehar in a much more modern part of Kerala.

June 2023

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%T Women Dreaming
%A Salma
%M Tamil
%F Kandasamy, Meena
%I Tilted Axis
%D 2020
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9781911284468
%P 379pp