Shyamasri Maji reviews Ranga Rao’s Those Women of the Coromandel (Aleph, 2022) and calls it a trendsetter in recent postcolonial historical fiction writing.
Ranga Rao’s (1936-2018) Those Women of the Coromandel is a historical fiction published posthumously. Rao devoted more than thirty years to the making of this book, doing assiduous research on the social history of South India during the heydays of British colonial rule. He hailed from the delta district of Andhra Pradesh and his rootedness in the region is reflected in his representation of the cultural milieu in the novel. Well-known as a writer and academic, Rao produced four novels, one collection of short stories, two volumes of English translations of stories from Telegu, and two critical works on R.K. Narayan’s fiction. Those Women of the Coromandel is his last work.