Classic Author Focus: Kamala Markandaya

Kamala Markayanda

One of the difficulties I’ve found with trying to introduce more female writers from cultures other than European is that once I’ve identified some of them, I can’t find out anything about them. A classic example is Kamala Markandaya, who is cited as one of the best-known Indian authors. Yet, on all the biographical web sites, there is hardly a fact about her. Most of them look at her in terms of what is in her fiction.

Markandaya was born of a privileged Brahmin family in Mysore, India. She attended Madras University and worked as a journalist.

A theme in her novels is the clash between Eastern/rural and Western/urban values in Indian society. Her novels generally portray Western values as modern and materialistic and Eastern values as traditional and spiritual. This is interesting, because she left India when it declared its independence and married an Englishman. She has been criticized by Indian critics for not being that familiar with the life, especially the inner life, of Indian poor. Her strength seems to lie with her subtle depictions of individual relationships.

Dates: 1924-2004

Most famous works: Nectar in a Sieve, A Handful of Rice

Other works: Some Inner Fury, A Silence of Desire, Possession, The Golden Honeycomb, and many more

7 thoughts on “Classic Author Focus: Kamala Markandaya

  1. I never heard about her before but you’ve given me an idea of an Indian themed reading month or something like this… I added Nectar in a sieve to my TBR, thank you 🙂

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  2. Thanks for that. I have read quite a few novels by Indian writers, none of them a woman. So, I’ll have to look into Kamala Markandaya. Have you read any already? If yes, which one would you recommend?

    Thanks for your great posts.

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