The Woman Who Knew Gandhi by Keith Heller
A Novel

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Based on an aside in Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography, in which he mentions a brief but seductive youthful flirtation with an Englishwoman, The Woman Who Knew Gandhi boldly imagines a long correspondence between a spiritual leader from the East and an ordinary woman from the West. In 1948, just after Gandhi's assassination, Martha Houghton receives a letter from Gandhi's son, who himself lies dying of tuberculosis in Bombay. Having found a stash of her letters to his father, he asks to meet her. The request sends Martha into a tailspin, for her husband knows nothing of her lifelong friendship with Gandhi.

Martha and her husband are forced to reevaluate their long marriage, and she must find a way to reconcile the disparate halves of her life. Moreover, their small community becomes a magnet for the press, and Martha finds her words twisted and used against her. Ultimately, she must decide whether to meet her old son's friend on his deathbed, or to remain in England and mend the rift in her marriage. Charmingly and elegantly written, The Woman Who Knew Gandhi explores the many definitions of love and friendship and the surprises of marriage.

About Keith Heller

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Keith Heller, born in Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1949, has written four previous novels. He has taught English in the United States, Japan, Madrid, and Argentina. He currently lives in California, where he writes full time. His fiction has been published in numerous literary journals. Heller has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize anthology and was a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction.
Published January 7, 2004 by Mariner Books. 223 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

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Sam takes the news in stride, but he and their children are stunned when Martha decides to make the journey to Bombay to visit Harilal.

Jan 07 2004 | Read Full Review of The Woman Who Knew Gandhi: A ...

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In Heller's fanciful fifth novel (after Man's Storm, 1986, etc.), turmoil ensues when an elderly wife and mother in a small English village is revealed to have been an old flame of the Mahatma.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Woman Who Knew Gandhi: A ...

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