A Breath of Fresh Air by Amulya Malladi

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On the night of December 3, 1984, Anjali waits for her army officer husband to pick her up at the train station in Bhopal, India. In an instant, her world changes forever. Her anger at his being late turns to horror when a catastrophic gas leak poisons the city air. Anjali miraculously survives. Her marriage does not.

A smart, successful schoolteacher, Anjali is now remarried to Sandeep, a loving and stable professor. Their lives would be nearly perfect, if not for their young son’s declining health. But when Anjali’s first husband suddenly reappears in her life, she is thrown back to the troubling days of their marriage with a force that impacts everyone around her.

Her first husband’s return brings back all the uncertainty Anjali thought time and conviction had healed–about her decision to divorce, and about her place in a society that views her as scandalous for having walked away from her arranged marriage. As events unfold, feelings she had guarded like gold begin to leak away from her, spreading out into the world and challenging her once firm beliefs.

Rich in insight into Indian culture and psychology, A Breath of Fresh Air resonates with meaning and the abiding power of love. In a landscape as intriguing as it is unfamiliar, Anjali’s struggles to reconcile the roles of wife and ex-wife, working woman and mother, illuminate both the fascinating duality of the modern Indian woman and the difficult choices all women must make.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Amulya Malladi

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Amulya Malladi has a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master's degree in journalism. Born and raised in India, she lived in the United States for several years before moving to Denmark, where she now lives on the island of Mors with her husband and young son. You can contact her at www.amulyamalladi.com.From the Hardcover edition.
Published December 18, 2007 by Ballantine Books. 242 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Waiting at the Bhopal train station for her husband Prakash to pick her up, young Anjali could never have guessed that his forgetfulness would alter the shape of her life.

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Publishers Weekly

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While debut novelist Malladi deserves credit for illuminating a troubling aspect of Indian culture, the novel founders on the character of Prakash, a man of limited emotional intelligence or generosity, whose epiphanic breakthrough into acknowledging his guilt serves the plot, but fails to make h...

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Book Reporter

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR begins on December 3, 1984 as Anjali waits for her husband Prakash to pick her up at the train station in Bhopal, India.

Jun 03 2003 | Read Full Review of A Breath of Fresh Air

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