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Cover for Mistress


A Novel

Anita Nair


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When travel writer Christopher Stewart arrives at a riverside resort in Kerala, India to meet Koman, Radha's uncle and a famous dancer, he enters a world of masks and repressed emotions. From their first meeting, both Radha and her uncle are drawn to the enigmatic young man with his cello and his incessant questions about the past. The triangle quickly excludes Shyam, Radha's husband, who can only watch helplessly as she embraces Chris with a passion that he has never been able to draw from her. Also playing the role of observer-participant is Koman; his life story, as it unfolds, captures all the nuances and contradictions of the relationships being made—and unmade—in front of his eyes.

Praise For Mistress: A Novel

“Tempestuously exotic, Nair's intricately woven multicultural and multigenerational saga pulsates with passion and desire.” —Booklist

“This intricately plotted novel by Nair (Ladies Coupé), her third to be published in the United States, blends myth, history, and human emotion into a mixture as sweet as the nectar of the jackfruit and as tangled as human behavior . . . Highly recommended.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Nair is a powerful writer, who through this tender story shows great understanding and compassion for women and for the choices and regrets they cannot avoid.” —Booklist on Ladies Coupé

“Nair's strength lies in bringing alive the everyday thoughts, desires and doubts of these six ordinary women.” —Times Literary Supplement on Ladies Coupé

“. . . quietly powerful . . .” —Kirkus Reviewst on Ladies Coupé

“A sensitive exploration of the tension of self-actualization vs. familial responsibility in a society with traditional values, this novel . . .will surely resonate with readers everywhere.” —Library Journalt on Ladies Coupé

“Nair is a powerful writer. . . she has created what must be one of the most important feminist novels to come out of South Asia.” —Daily Telegraph (UK)t on Ladies Coupé

St. Martin's Griffin, 9780312349479, 432pp.

Publication Date: August 8, 2006

About the Author

Anita Nair lives in Bangalore, India. Her books have been published in several languages around the world.  Her last novel, Mistress, was long listed for the 2008 Orange Prize in the UK, and named a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award in the U.S. The Lilac House was recently adapted for stage and film in India.