June 10, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Book Review: Mai- Silently Mother by Geetanjali Shree (Translated from Hindi, with an Afterword by Nita Kumar)

1 min read

Shyamasri reviews Geetanjali Shree’s Mai- Silently Mother (Niyogi Books, 2017) translated from Hindi, with an Afterword by Nita Kumar and observes how the novel represents marriage as a claustrophobic social institution for middle-class Indian women.

Geetanjali Shree (1957- ) is well-known for her fictional works in Hindi. She gained international fame with the English translation of her latest novel Ret ki Samadhi (Tomb of Sand) by Daisy Rockwell. It is the first book, originally written in Hindi, to win the Booker Prize for 2022. Mai: Silently Mother is her debut novel. Nita Kumar was awarded the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize in 2002 for translating it into English. It is a mother-daughter narrative that interrogates the secondary position of women in contemporary Indian society. The title foregrounds the central character ‘mai’ (“mother”) but other characters such as dada (“grandfather,” mai’s father-in-law), dadi (“grandmother,” mai’s mother-in-law), babu (mai’s husband) bua (mai’s sister-in-law), Subodh (mai’s son) and Sunaina (mai’s daughter and the narrator) play important roles in the novel. 

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