Synopses & Reviews
"There can be no vaulting over time," thinks Urmi, the narrator of The Binding Vine. "We have to walk every step of the way, however difficult or painful it is; we can avoid nothing." After the death of her baby, Urmi's finds her own path difficult to endure. But through her grief, she is drawn into the lives of two unlikely women—a long-dead relative and a young girl in a coma. As the stories of these three women unravel so does a tale of quiet courage and unfaltering hope.
The first woman Urmi is drawn to is Mina, her long-dead mother-in-law, who exists only in the notebooks she has left behind, discovered by chance in a dusty storage trunk. Mina's journals and poetry reveal the trials of a vibrant young woman trapped in an unhappy arranged marriage, and of a gifted writer whose work, because she is a woman, must remain secret and unread. The second, a young woman named Kalpana, has also been silenced: the victim of a violent rape, she hovers between life and death in a hospital ward, watched over by her impoverished mother, with whom Urmi forms a bond of mutual comfort.
The miracle of The Binding Vine, and of Shashi Deshpande's deeply compassionate vision, is that out of this web of loss and despair emerge strands of life and hope—a binding vine of love and connection that spreads across chasms of time, distance, and even death. In moving and exquisitely understated prose, Deshpande renders visible the extraordinary endurance and grace concealed in women's everyday lives.
Shashi Deshpande is the author of seven novels, including A Matter of Time, as well as several volumes of short stories and a number of chidlren's books. She is winner of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award.
Ritu Menon, a founder of Kali for Women, India's first feminist publisher, has co-edited three anthologies of writing by Indian women.
In this novel of healing and hope amid tragedy, acclaimed writer Deshpande explores the ties that bind us to each other.