Set in the railway colonies of India, Tamarind Woman tells a sweeping story of two generations of women. Kamini, an overachiever, lives in a self-imposed exile in Canada. Her mother, Saroja, nicknamed Tamarind Woman due to her sour tongue, is trapped by the customs of traditional Indian life. When Saroja informs her daughter that she has sold their house and is going on a journey across India alone by train, both women are plunged into the past, confronting their dreams and disappointments as well as their long-held secrets.
At the center of both their lives is Kamini's elusive father, an officer for the India Railway System. Often away from home working on the railroads, he is unaware of the secrets of his own household. He doesn't know that his wife disappears for days at a time, leaving Kamini and her favored younger sister in the care of their superstitious servant. Nor does he know the gossip surrounding his wife and the local mechanic. Nothing, however, escapes Kamini's notice. Only now, living in Canada, is she able to make sense of the eccentric family she's left behind. Only now, with her children grown and her husband long deceased, is Saroja able to make peace with her past.
Lyrical, compassionate, and wise, Tamarind Woman is a powerful novel about family, memory, and the traditions that tear us apart and bring us together.
About Anita Rau Badami
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Published March 15, 2002
by Algonquin Books.
Literature & Fiction.