By Anita Rau Badami
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345464941, 304pp.)
Publication Date: March 2, 2004
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Growing up in India, Kamini often found herself struggling to be noticed: noticed by her beloved, storytelling father, whose position as a railway officer took him away from home for long stretches of time; and noticed by her distant, distracted mother, Saroja, whose biting remarks earned her the nickname Tamarind Woman—and whose frequent disappearances while her husband was away led to whispers of dalliances and affairs.
Now Kamini is grown, living in Canada in a sort of self-imposed exile from her eccentric family and all the turmoil they represent. After her father’s death, her mother embarks upon a solo journey across India by train— because what is the use of a lifetime railway pass if she doesn’t use it? The trip brings the past rushing back for Saroja and Kamini—as both are forced to confront their dreams, disappointments, and long-guarded secrets.