Tag Archive > Urmilla Deshpande

Grappling Life and Loneliness

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A Pack of Lies by Urmilla Deshpande, book reviewIndian fiction has been going in many directions. Urmilla Deshpande’s novel is the story of a heroine who could belong in Jacqueline Susann’s pages, a girl who is thrown from one dysfunctional situation to another. If you analyse the situations they are the expected ones, a neglectful mother, an absent father, an abusive step father, a ‘wicked stepmother’, exploitative boyfriends, an abortion, a full term pregnancy, a brush with drugs, a shrink – everything that privileged children living on the edge could be expected to encounter.

The book opens with Ginny and her mother in Mumbai in the 1980’s – Ginny is hungry short of money and desperate for her mother’s attention, though we don’t quite realise why.

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Urmilla Deshpande talks to Curious Book Fans

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After reviewing Urmilla Deshpande’s second novel Kashmir Blues we were curious to hear more from the author. Although busy writing her third novel and a book of short fiction at her Tallahassee, Florida home she found time to answer few questions for Curious Book Fans.

Urmilla DeshpandeCBF: How did you suddenly decide on Kashmir as the main setting for this novel? Was it because of the current political crisis?

Urmilla Deshpande: I didn’t suddenly decide on “Kashmir” as the setting. This book was written in 2003-2004, not recently. I was interested in individuals who decide to stand against a power much greater than themselves, such as a government. I didn’t know much about it. The other thing I would like to say is that no matter how closely fiction is based on, or resembles reality or the real world, it is fiction. The Kashmir in my book is no more real, I think, than is the Alexandria in Durrell’s quartet or the London that Sherlock Holmes lives in.

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Vale of Illusion

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 Kashmir Blues - Urmilla Deshpande , book reviewEveryone knows a Kashmiri shawl wala or carpet seller – they arrive with the coming of autumn carrying treasures of colour in their autumn leaf brown bundles. And then they disappear with spring for months on end and you occasionally, reading about disturbances in the Valley, you wonder whether they will reappear. At the heart of Urmilla Deshpande’s novel is Samaad, a carpet seller who speaks the Queen’s English because he happened to have been educated in England. He is a man with a mission – he has discovered a mineful of priceless Kashimiri sapphires, the Kashmir Blues of the titles and he wants to use the sapphires to ensure peace for the part of the Valley in which he lives.

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