The Criterion: An International Journal in English ISSN A Feminist Study of Manju Kapur’s Difficult Daughters Bijender Singh . Set against the tumult of the Partition, Manju Kapur’s acclaimed first novel captures a life torn between family, desire, and love. The one thing I had wanted . Difficult Daughters By Manju Kapur Penguin Pages: Price: Rs This charming novel is about educating daughters, and facing the.

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Difficult Daughters by Manju Kapur. Difficult Daughters by Manju Kapur. Set around the time of Partition and written with absorbing intelligence and sympathy, Difficult Daughters is the story of a woman torn between family duty, the desire for education, and illicit love.

Virmati, a young woman born in Amritsar into an austere and high-minded household, falls in love with a neighbour, the Professor–a man who is already married. That the Profe Set around the time of Partition and written with absorbing intelligence and sympathy, Difficult Daughters is the story of a woman torn between family duty, the desire for education, and illicit love.

That the Professor eventually marries Virmati, installs her in his home alongside his furious first wife and helps her towards further studies in Lahore, is small consolation to her scandalised family. Or even to Virmati, who finds that the battle for her own independence has created irrevocable lines of partition and pain around her.

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Lists with This Book. Dec 17, Kinga rated it really liked it. I would have never picked it up myself but I actually reserved it at the library because I liked the title. The pink cover with flowers is the new edition by nons other than Faber, recently responsible for the sacrilegious cover of the anniversary edition of The Bell Jar http: To spice things up Manju Kapur included the political background the story takes place before and around Partition and even tries to create some parallels between the micro and macrocosm.

Difficult Daughters by Manju Kapur

They did often feel like newspaper cuttings pasted in. The book tells the story of Virmati and is partly narrated by her daughter who is trying to learn more about her mother.

Therefore there is a lot of fore-shadowing and we pretty much know where the story is going and how it is going to end. As it is revealed at the very beginning, I can also tell you that young Virmati ends up marrying the Professor and becoming his second wife.

This antagonizes her own family, as well as the first wife obviously. Initially, I empathised with the Professor — here is a man who went to study in Oxford, came back and had to marry an illiterate woman the family had chosen for him. He had already been infected with the Western balderdash or romantic love and partnership, so who could blame him for falling hard and deep for a young and bright Virmati.

But soon it becomes apparent that the Professor is a weak man, who prefers to have a cake and eat it too, and also it is not really a partner he is looking for.

True to his nickname, he is actually looking for a student. Someone who would listen and learn, someone he could mould according to his vision but someone who would never exercise their independent reasoning skills.

In the end it was maybe his first wife who ended being the smarter one by refusing to learn to read or care for anything he tried to teach her, she stood her ground and stuck to what she thought was important, be it cooking and astrology. View all 4 comments. Apr 15, Parvoneh rated it it was ok.

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This book made me miss a lot about north India talk of cooking, of food, of sleeping outside. I wanted to like Difficult Daughtersbut overall I thought it was clunky. The partition motif was pretty heavy-handed, and the story skimmed along so many events that I never got much of a feel for the characters. The writing on spaces was much stronger, but didn’t receive as much attention. If the narrative was going to be so character focused, I would have liked more time spent ruminating on feelin This book made me miss a lot about north India talk of cooking, of food, of sleeping outside.

If the narrative was going to be so character focused, I would have liked more time spent ruminating on feelings, emotions, all that sappy stuff that makes events and surroundings lively or engaging or devastating. As it was, the writing seemed a little nervous, uneasy. The story was intriguing, but not vibrant.

Glad that Manju Kapur is writing, glad that publishers are printing books about women, about partition, about sex, and about families. Hoping that we’ll get balance in the future–talking about individuals, talking about ideas, understanding the magnitude of families, of countries, of hurt.

Sep 19, Shilpi Jain rated it really liked it. Set in the backdrop of World War II, partition and the nascent India, this book is about love- myopic, pure, rebellious, painful but strong. Virmati is the eldest daughter of an affluent Arya Samaj family which encourages education but not independent thinking for their girls. She falls in love with a much married professor with two kids and thus starts the difficylt journey of being suspended in time for her life to start.

After they are married and Virmati disowned by her family, her husband enc Set in the backdrop of World War II, partition and the nascent India, this book difficutl about love- myopic, pure, rebellious, painful but strong.

After they are married ka;ur Virmati disowned by her family, her husband encourages her to study, to learn- by his choice, to be his companion, be independent within the limits he sets and keep up with his parallel family. The story moves beautifully through time and places- Amritsar, Lahore, finally Delhi. Virmati desire to have the professor to herself, her struggles, frustrations, her little joys and ‘non-cooperation’ is depicted wonderfully.

While the country bleeds in birth and finds peace eventually, does it come to Virmati and her husband? Read it to find yourself. Amazingly thorough in research for the backdrop, the narrative is very powerful- I could almost imagine the story unfolding in my head no, I wan’t asleep: Aug 04, Maulika Patel rated it liked it.

This book had a lot of promise, unfortunately, for me, it failed. Having finished the book, I felt that Ida’s birth wasn’t where it should have ended. I never understood why Ida wanted to know more about her Mother’s life. I would have liked to know more about Ida’s life and more about her relationship difficulg Viramati.

The actual bulk of the daughteers is well written, it is an engrossing tale of love and deceit set in the backdrop of India’s partition.

Virmati is a young Punjabi girl, born to a high-minded family in Amritsar; the oldest daughter of an ever-growing brood, Virmati spends much of her youth taking care of her siblings. Her writing is beautiful and assured throughout, dispersing at will to connect the reader with all manner of information — intense descriptions of the history, nuances of the Indian lifestyle, introductions to innumerable interesting characters — adughters maintaining a steady focus on the heart of the story, the life of young, determined Virmati.

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With a striking command of language and a natural eloquence, Kapur weaves a story at once heartbreaking and impressively thought-provoking. No difficultt is without shortcomings in the story, including Virmati, whose devotion to the professor readers may not be able to fully grasp. Her inclusion of diffjcult, consistent details that color the daily life of her Indian women works to bring the authenticity of her India to larger life, even for kxpur foreign reader who may not kaphr familiar with daughtes native terms Kapur is quick to utilize.

This is one of the many charms of Difficult Daughters, the way it confidently offers its roots and the road to its present. In her examination of the search for female identity, Kapur puts forth an illuminating novel full of power, honesty, and grace. A copy of the book was provided for the purpose of review. Sep 05, Ashmi rated it it was amazing.

I kapud this sitting in a box of old books and realized I’d never read it.

A Feminist Study of Manju Kapur’s Difficult Daughters | Dr. Bijender Singh –

I could not put it down! One of the better books I’ve read in a while. Evocative description of life in India in the post-Independence era, especially the culture surrounding women. Some of this has continued even in the 21st century so it felt a little familiar. And poignant description of the few months around Partition – brought it dzughters to life for me.

Oct 21, Kai rated it it was amazing Shelves: I loved the way the relationships in dughters book are laid out and how much understanding has gone into writing this. I can sympathise with both the mothers and daughters and it’s easy to see how you start thinking and acting like your own mother as you get older and have children of your own. All the Indian references make me miss my family.

Nov 25, Vidhya Nair rated it liked it Shelves: I met Madhu Kapur before I read her first book. Her daughtsrs, like her speaks like a voice of a daughter.

Difficult Daughters

Virmati wanted her mother to love and appreciate her and she accepted a version of it with her choice of Hari. She wanted to be traditional but she lacked courage to be I met Madhu Kapur before I read her first book. She wanted to be traditional but she lacked courage to be really liberal. In the end, the narrator wanted the memory of Virmati to leave her. An important lesson to learn when dealing with relationships with one’s mother. Her story is a real one, one familiarly faced by many girls from traditional homes who are bound by duty yet yearn to be seen for themselves, as unique individuals.

Feb 10, Tanvi rated it liked it. May 27, Anushri Jain rated it really liked it. For more than many reasons this has made it to touch my heart! A Fabulous book which explores the identity of a woman in society and an individual search for independence from the norms of society.

Virmati is different from her siblings and her mother never fails to point out how difficult and selfish she is. Virmati wants more than just being a wife. She wants to learn and grow as a person and devotes her life to gaining education more than anyone in her family. Her journey is not easy. She has to let go of an unwanted marriage which infuriates her family A Fabulous book which explores the identity of a woman in society and an individual search for independence from the norms of society.