Arkansas Author: Padma Viswanathan
Occupation: Writer and visiting professor in Fiction at the University of Arkansas
Title of Book: The Toss of a Lemon
Target audience: Readers of literary and historical fiction. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how broad a cross-section of people have been attracted to it.
Tell us about your book, what’s it about?
“Inspired by her family history, Canadian novelist and playwright Padma Viswanathan brings us deep inside the private lives of a Brahmin family as the subcontinent moves through sixty years of intense social and political change. At the novel’s heart is Sivakami, a captivating girl-child married at ten to an astrologer and village healer who is drawn to her despite his horoscope, which foretells a possible early death depending on how the stars align when their children are born. All is safe with their daughter’s birth, but their second child, a son named Vairum, fulfills the prophecy: by eighteen, the child bride Sivakami is a widow with two young children.
“According to the dictates of her caste, her head is shaved and she must don the widow’s white sari. From dawn to dusk, she is not allowed to contaminate herself with human touch, not even to comfort her small children. She dutifully follows custom, even accepting a bad marriage her brothers arrange for her daughter, except for one act of rebellion: she insists on a secular education for her troubled son.
“While her choice ensures that Vairum fulfills his promise in a modernizing India, it also sets Sivakami on a collision course with him. Vairum, fatherless in childhood, childless as an adult, rejects the caste identity that is his mother’s mainstay, twisting their fates in fascinating and unbearable ways.”
Where is the book available to purchase? Anywhere literary fiction is sold!
What inspires you to write? Unsolvable problems.
Any other thoughts or information you want to share? More info on my book and me at my website: www.padmaviswanathan.com.
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