"Set in contemporary India, this captivating, quietly stirring debut explores losing and re-establishing identity, and the rise of religious fundamentalism, through a mother and daughter who lose their anchor."
Rooted in female relationships, and ideas around how personal identities are forged, broken and reassembled, Anindita Ghose’s The Illuminated is a beautifully-written novel that quietly seeps into your thoughts and sheds a glowing lunar light on hidden truths.
Centred around two women — mother and daughter Shashi and Tara — it’s an in-depth character study underpinned by what comes in the wake of loss, intergenerational and social differences, and external forces that threaten to cast us adrift.
When Shashi’s celebrated, successful architect husband dies suddenly, she hasn’t just lost a husband, she’s also lost herself, and to an extent she’d never anticipated. At the same time, Tara, her independent daughter, is losing herself in a relationship with an older man just as she’s lost her anchor of a father. As the two women drift and try to re-ground themselves, religious fundamentalism threatens to sweep them into its swell.
The Illuminated really is remarkable in its poignant portrayal of how our sense of self often hinges on those we love, with its sense of coming to a state of illumination reinforced through section headers relating to phases of the moon.
|Modern and Contemporary Fiction