Author: Bapsi Sidhwa
Set in 1938 India against the backdrop of Mahatma Gandhi s rise to power, Water follows the life of eight-year-old Chuyia, a child-bride who is abandoned at a widows ashram in Benares after her fifty-year-old husband dies. There, she is expected to spend the rest of her life in penitence. Unwilling to accept her fate, Chuyia becomes a catalyst for change in the lives of the widows. When her friend, the beautiful widow-prostitute Kalyani, falls in love with Narayan, a young, upper-class Gandhian idealist, the affair boldly defies Hindu tradition and threatens to undermine the delicate balance of power within the ashram. Sidhwa s sensitive storytelling makes this a novel rich with unforgettable characters. Water offers a riveting examination of the lives of widows in colonial India, but ultimately it is a haunting and lyrical story of love, faith, and redemption.