That Long Silence is a work of fiction for which author won the Sahitya Academy award way back in 1990. These days I am trying to locate quality Indian literature. And Sahitya academy award is one such parameter to locate them. Last week I found this book in a bookstore and I just grabbed it.
It is a story of an urban middle-class woman. Born in a small place but living in Mumbai, whose identity is trapped in being a wife and a mother, amongst other family relationships. Who feels she has lived in silence all her life. Only in the end to realize that it was her choice and not something others had imposed on her. It is actually not a story. These are monologues happening in the mind of the protagonist Jaya, as she hits a point in life where things around her may change, status quo may go, although it does not happen in the end.
It all happens in her mind. She keeps thinking about things that happened, that did not happen, that could have happened, that should have happened, that may happen and that may not happen. In a period of few days, she goes through all her life, talking about all her relationships with each and every member of the family. And with other people around her, her hiding behind the veil of a wife and a writer.
Since the story is set in a period before and after independence, you may find yourself not relating to a few things. If you are an independent woman who has lived with her own identity, again you may not relate to it. But if you are a housewife, whose career as the author puts is home and husband only, and hence her dependence on the marriage, you may relate a lot to it. As far as men are concerned, am not sure how they would relate to it.
I found the writing style a bit confusing. She jumped at the speed of thought, moving between places and periods. The editing of the book could have been better, paragraphs and sections merge into each other. 3-4 parts of the books did not make any logical meaning to me.
Read it if you like to read the thoughts of a mind, lot of which you would identify with.
Buy this book – That Long Silence by Shashi Deshpande at Amazon India.
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