A Kitchen in the Corner of the House (Paperback)

By AMBAI, Lakshmi Holmström (Translated by)

Archipelago, 9781939810441, 376pp.

Publication Date: September 17, 2019

List Price: 20.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A Kitchen in the Corner of the House collects twenty-five gem-like stories on motherhood, sexuality, and the body from the innovative and perceptive Tamil writer Ambai.

In A Kitchen in the Corner of the House, Ambai's narrators are daring and courageous, stretching and reinventing their homes, marriages, and worlds. With each story, her expansive voice confronts the construction of gender in Tamil literature. Piecing together letters, journal entries, and notes, Ambai weaves themes of both self-liberation and confinement into her writing. Her transfixing stories often meditate on motherhood, sexuality, and the liberating, and at times inhibiting, contours of the body.

About the Author

C.S. Lakshmi, writing under the pseudonym of Ambai, is a feminist Tamil writer. She was born in 1944 in Tamil Nadu, and grew up in Bangalore and Mumbai. Her works include In a Forest, A Deer, Fish in a Dwindling Lake, A Meeting on the Andheri Overbridge, The Purple Sea, and A Night with a Black Spider. Her short stories portray the reality of women's lives, communicating their silence through words. She has worked on research projects such as: The Face Behind the Mask: Women in Tamil Literature. In 1988, Lakshmi founded SPARROW (Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women) a non-governmental organization for documenting and archiving the work of female writers and artists. About the translator: Lakshmi Holmström translated short stories, novels, and poetry by the major contemporary writers in Tamil. Her most recent books are Fish in a Dwindling Lake by Ambai (2012); A Second Sunrise, poems by Cheran; Wild Girls, Wicked Words, a translation of poems by four Tamil women (2012). In 2007 she shared the Crossword-Hutch Award for her translation of Ambai's short stories, In a Forest, a Deer; and she received the Iyal Award from the Tamil Literary Garden, Canada, in 2008.

Praise For A Kitchen in the Corner of the House

Ambai "evokes in sensuous, vibrant prose the colors, flavors, and sounds of Indian life in a collection of 21 stories translated by Holmström. . . Fresh, graceful stories create a palpable world." - Kirkus Reviews

"Ambai's stories explore the nuances of personal relationships, complex networks of emotions, and mingle themselves insightfully." - The Telegraph

"Ambai's stories...are boldly experimental, pointing to the real source of the best Indian fiction in the vernacular languages. She makes use of polyphony, fragmentation, and multiple persepctives, and her translator succeeds in capturing her technical virtuosity." - Times Literary Supplement

"Ambai brings to bear upon her tales the weight of her knowledge of the mythic, literary, and Puranic...A felicity of language and the easy flow of words make the translation a pleasure to read." - The Hindu

"Ambai excels in making physical movements parallel the progression in her stories...Lakshmi Holmstrom has been able to settle down so comfortably with the psyche of Ambai, that her translations of the latter's Tamil writings have the easy flow of the original." - Deccan Herald