The First Promise

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Orient Blackswan, 2004 - Fiction - 541 pages
The First Promise is a translation of Ashapurna Debi s novel, Pratham Pratisruti, originally published in Bengali in 1964. Celebrated as one of the most popular and path-breaking novels of its time, it has received continual critical acclaim: the Rabindra Puraskar (the Tagore Prize) in 1966 and the Bharitiya Jnanpith, India s highest literary award, in 1977. Spanning the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ashapurna tells the story of the struggles and efforts of women in nineteenth-century, colonial Bengal in a deceptively easy and conversational style. The charming eight-year old heroine, Satyabati is a child bride who leaves her husband s village for Calcutta, the capital of British India where she is caught in the social dynamics of women s education, social reform agendas, modern medicine and urban entertainment. As she makes her way through this complex maze, making sense of the rapidly changing world around her, Satyabati nurtures hopes and aspirations for her daughter. But the promises held out by modernity turn out to be empty, instigating Satyabati to break away from her inherited world and initiate a quest that takes her to the very heart of tradition.

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User Review  - ujwala11 - LibraryThing

One of the strongest female characters ever created in Indian writing. The novel is set in 19th century colonial Bengal (India) and draws a moving picture of the lives of women in colonial India. The ... Read full review

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