Mothers in My Fiction

(This post was originally written in May, just before Mother's Day. Because it was moved to a new site, it is postdated to June).

Mother's Day reminds me of how important my mother, who pretty much brought us up as a single parent, has been in my life. Perhaps the many mothers that I depict in my books--though they have little similarity to the biographical facts of her life-- are my attempt to understand the loving, stern, mysterious woman she was. (She passed away a few years ago. Here is one of the last photos I have of her, at my niece Neela's wedding.)


Some instances of mothers in my books: In the final story in my collection Arranged Marriage, there is the mother who must, in the wake of her failed marriage, establish a new kind of bond with her teenage son. In Sister of My Heart, there are three strong mother figures that bring up the protagonists Sudha and Anju, each focusing on a different aspect she considers crucial: physical beauty, studies, and mythological stories. And in my newest novel, Oleander Girl, Korobi's mother Anu, who died at childbirth, naming her daughter after a beautiful but poisonous flower, is an enigma who haunts Korobi until she must put off her marriage and travel from Kolkata to New York to discover the secret that lies at the heart of Anu's life.

I don't think I'm done writing about mothers--my next novel will feature Sita (heroine of the epic The Ramayana), one of literature's first single mothers.