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.



Sneak Peek at my Upcoming Novel Oleander Girl plus 2 possible covers for you to vote on

Friends, if you have a couple of minutes,would you please take a look at the 2 possible covers for my upcoming novel Oleander Girl which my publisher, Free Press, just sent me, & give me your opinion? I'd really value your input before I make a decision.

Unfortunately I can't seem to upload the images here, so please go to, and vote for

the one you prefer (version A yellow, or version B white). Please, if you have a moment, tell

me why you like it better.

You can comment on this blog or on FB. I do appreciate your time!

Below is a brief description of Oleander Girl, so you'll have a sense of which cover is more fitting


Thanks as always for your support of my writing.




Korobi Roy, heir of an old and distinguished Kolkata household, has met and fallen in love with Rajat, the only son of the Boses, a high-profile nouveau riche business family. Their engagement is a grand affair, but that same evening Korobi's grandfather, who has brought her up since the death of her mother at Korobi's birth, passes away. He leaves behind a dark secret, at once devastating and exhilarating, which will shatter Korobi's sense of self and will thrust her out of her sheltered Kolkata life into a courageous and troubled search, with few resources, acrosspost 9/11 America, a country that she finds at once dangerous, unwelcoming and alluring. What she discovers at the end will force her to make the most difficult choice of her life.

Meanwhile in India Rajat must struggle with his own challenges--outbreaks of Hindu-Muslim violence, in the wake of the Godhra riots, in the Bose's warehouse; money problems stemming from the vandalism of their New York art gallery; an ex-girlfriend who refuses to let him go; and his own jealous suspicions as Korobi travels through America in the company of a disturbingly attractive private investigator named Vic.

Set against a fast-changing world of social, economic and political tensions in India and America that will force the characters to question the beliefs and preconceptions they have grown up with, Oleander Girl is ultimately an exploration of the nature--and the cost--of love, and the ways in which it can help us survive in the midst of hate.