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The Kept Woman and Other Stories

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”I feel a woman is most attractive when she surrenders to her man. She is incomplete without a man,” averred Kamala Das shortly before her death in May, 2009. One of the most controversial and celebrated Indian authors, she combined in her writings rare honesty and sensitivity, provocation and poignancy. The Kept Woman and Other Stories explores the man-woman relationship ”I feel a woman is most attractive when she surrenders to her man. She is incomplete without a man,” averred Kamala Das shortly before her death in May, 2009. One of the most controversial and celebrated Indian authors, she combined in her writings rare honesty and sensitivity, provocation and poignancy. The Kept Woman and Other Stories explores the man-woman relationship in all its dimensions. Deprived, depraved, mysterious, mystical and exalted, each character, culled from experience and observation, is an incisive study of love, lust and longing.


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”I feel a woman is most attractive when she surrenders to her man. She is incomplete without a man,” averred Kamala Das shortly before her death in May, 2009. One of the most controversial and celebrated Indian authors, she combined in her writings rare honesty and sensitivity, provocation and poignancy. The Kept Woman and Other Stories explores the man-woman relationship ”I feel a woman is most attractive when she surrenders to her man. She is incomplete without a man,” averred Kamala Das shortly before her death in May, 2009. One of the most controversial and celebrated Indian authors, she combined in her writings rare honesty and sensitivity, provocation and poignancy. The Kept Woman and Other Stories explores the man-woman relationship in all its dimensions. Deprived, depraved, mysterious, mystical and exalted, each character, culled from experience and observation, is an incisive study of love, lust and longing.

30 review for The Kept Woman and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Aparna

    I have yet to come across an author who can write more honestly and simplistically as Kamala Das. Kamala Das is a revelation, an inspiration and a fountain of originality for those who wish to write from the heart. Coming from her age and times, its astonishing that a woman could risk everything to say things like it is - be it sexuality, infedilty, love, lust, marriage and society... When you read her stories you wonder how she was so ahead of her times with just home schooling - mind you these I have yet to come across an author who can write more honestly and simplistically as Kamala Das. Kamala Das is a revelation, an inspiration and a fountain of originality for those who wish to write from the heart. Coming from her age and times, its astonishing that a woman could risk everything to say things like it is - be it sexuality, infedilty, love, lust, marriage and society... When you read her stories you wonder how she was so ahead of her times with just home schooling - mind you these stories appeared in the 50s - 70s....

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rajeev

    Kamala Das was a renowned poet, novelist, essayist and memoirist of India. She hailed from the state of Kerala and most of her works were in Malayalam. The Kept Woman and Other Stories is a collection of short stories which have been translated into English. It is notable that of the 19 stories in this collection, as many as 5 of them have been translated into English by Kamala Das herself. Her prose in English too is exemplary. I found the short story called The Kept Woman, particularly enjoyab Kamala Das was a renowned poet, novelist, essayist and memoirist of India. She hailed from the state of Kerala and most of her works were in Malayalam. The Kept Woman and Other Stories is a collection of short stories which have been translated into English. It is notable that of the 19 stories in this collection, as many as 5 of them have been translated into English by Kamala Das herself. Her prose in English too is exemplary. I found the short story called The Kept Woman, particularly enjoyable. The author had spent her childhood in Mumbai, and as was the practice in those days, was married off at the tender age of sixteen. As a child, Kamala Das had a flair for words. After marriage she moved to Kolkata with her husband. Kamala Das’s works reflect the free nature that the lady had which was quite a taboo in the period in which she lived and worked. Most of her works openly discuss sexuality and gender equality, topics which were frowned upon. Her writings were all the more controversial because happenings in her personal life crept into her works, and sordid details of adultery was exposed to the reading public. Her memoir called My Story was also controversial and was much ahead of its time. The stories in this collection are touching. The recurrent theme of these stories is gender equality and the fight against suppression of women. It can well be appreciated that Kamala Das during her life would have given vicarious emancipation to multitudes of women through her writings.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Priya sankar

    The stories will carry you around the lanes of Mumbai, Calcutta and Kerala. The first few stories were so so. But most of them are good. she has a craft to immerse you in the story, the smells, the sounds and the scenery of everyday life. Since I read her autobiography before this book, some of the characters resemble her. I imagined bits of Kamala das in them. her lines reflect so much emotion while narrating the simplest of things. “The flight” is a story of a wife who becomes a sculptor to su The stories will carry you around the lanes of Mumbai, Calcutta and Kerala. The first few stories were so so. But most of them are good. she has a craft to immerse you in the story, the smells, the sounds and the scenery of everyday life. Since I read her autobiography before this book, some of the characters resemble her. I imagined bits of Kamala das in them. her lines reflect so much emotion while narrating the simplest of things. “The flight” is a story of a wife who becomes a sculptor to support her ailing husband. “My feet sank in the wet sand full of crab holes. In those moments, only the newly sprouted grief in my heart bound me to the world.” The story “Sedation” is about the life of a writer struggling to play her role as a wife/mother. The words are authentic you feel for her. “Love requires subtle responses. Food, only the applause of a belch.” While the duties of her role make her feel lifeless, writing alone makes her feel alive. “Yet, I wash and cook and clean. I hope the community is satisfied now. Their horrible plans have caught up with me at last.” “I was out of sedation when I began to write. I rose like the sun and all heads turned to the east to look at me. That was being awake. the smell of cooking sedates me. The chatter of my neighbours. ....I am wearing somebody else’s skin. I am buried within this body.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Johnna

    3.5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nikhil

    It was an interesting read going through these short stories. While each story had its share of strange, and I do not want to break it down to where it could have originated from - the strangeness! But it was there. The stories were scattered in Bombay, Calcutta and some part of north Kerala. The segments on Kerala and the malayalee-ness in some stories were familiar associations; but there was more to them! Consider the space ship story, or the story of summer vacation - both had me tied with e It was an interesting read going through these short stories. While each story had its share of strange, and I do not want to break it down to where it could have originated from - the strangeness! But it was there. The stories were scattered in Bombay, Calcutta and some part of north Kerala. The segments on Kerala and the malayalee-ness in some stories were familiar associations; but there was more to them! Consider the space ship story, or the story of summer vacation - both had me tied with essential 'grand-mother-ness' which I get when I go to Kerala to visit my grandparents. There were other set of stories which depicted strange and extreme women in extreme psychological situations - sometimes abrupt, sometimes daring, sometimes nonchalant. These stories brought everything, the traditional, the daring, the curious, the conservative sides of women. In terms of the way it is written, i did not feel it was smooth, but perhaps it was intended to be this way. Imagine the story of the elevator, or the sculptor etc - random unforeseen reactions from the protagonists - keeping you from predicting the flow, and that kept me jumping from one story to the other cause there was so much flavor in the entire collection. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read a bit off beat and wants to just challenge the narrative too! The context would not be immediate to non-Indians, but I think if you are into Indian literature, some of the context has the usual calling.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Priyanka

    A collection of short stories depicting life of Indian women caught in the prison of marriage. For those with an Indian background, these stories will not arouse feelings of discovery or novelty, instead bring back memories of childhood, and emanate feelings of familiarity and empathy. This collection of lifetime works of Kamala Das also takes one through a journey, a journey that every writer goes through. From elementary, simple stories, the literature evolves to more complex and evolved writin A collection of short stories depicting life of Indian women caught in the prison of marriage. For those with an Indian background, these stories will not arouse feelings of discovery or novelty, instead bring back memories of childhood, and emanate feelings of familiarity and empathy. This collection of lifetime works of Kamala Das also takes one through a journey, a journey that every writer goes through. From elementary, simple stories, the literature evolves to more complex and evolved writings. I enjoyed reading the book, and recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning the perspectives of an expressive Indian woman, one who struggles through the labyrinth of arranged marriage and the social obligations and household oppression that accompany it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sowmya's book world

    when i started reading The Kept Women and other Stories i expected it to show case some good story , but i was highly disappointed not because it has short stories but most of the stories are weird, Some of the short stories ended before even stared, some left me with big !!!!! some left me with the feeling of Rubbish Author Kamala Das mainly Associate love with tragedy and beauty. most of them relate to death, misery , betrayal.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashok Krishna

    The stories range from mesmerizing to mediocre. Each story is peppered with the inferiority complex of Kamala about her appearance and dark complexion. Most of them sound not like a short story but like an anecdote from her own life. Add to it the annoying depiction of male gender as selfish, lustful and insensitive. Except for some occasional flashes of brilliance, the book is overall a forgettable experience. Story-teller Kamala is not as thrilling as the poet Kamala.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ankita

    Kamala Das was a feminist enigma. Her stories revolve around women trapped in extra marital affairs, going through bad marriages or trying to adjust with unresponsive spouses. Most stories are tragic ones but even then, it is an immensely readable book. I just loved it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vineeth

    Amazing collection of short stories that stoke various emotions. I am enjoying the whole environmental flavors of kerala and calcutta that has been sprinkled throughout this short sweet touching book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ekta

    After a long time came across an Indian writer who has something different to offer rather than those usual love stories. Loved the way the author has portrayed a woman's relationship with the world. A must read!! After a long time came across an Indian writer who has something different to offer rather than those usual love stories. Loved the way the author has portrayed a woman's relationship with the world. A must read!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Neeraja Kannan Kutty

    Her writings tread, ever so lightly, over the grey shades of life and she does it with such elegance and poise.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yogi

    Loved this book, after Ismat Chugtai i found this writer so fascinating...evokes strong feelings. Depict surreal vision sometime.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amrita

    Candid, touching and honest...she portrays the relationship that a woman has with her ecosystem perfectly.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    beautiful.. just takes you back to a 1950s and 60s era

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rani Jha

  17. 4 out of 5

    Prasanta Katoch

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mila

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tanupam

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicypullelygmail.Com

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kracekumar

  22. 5 out of 5

    Madhuri

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yogesh Potbhare

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abheeshta Gone

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shubham Agrawal

  26. 5 out of 5

    Isha Tyagi

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vivek

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shilpa Venkat

  29. 5 out of 5

    Srilaxmi Nair

  30. 5 out of 5

    Srinath

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