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Book Review: The Kept Woman and Other Stories by Kamala Das

Kamla Das was a terrific writer whenever the topic of expressing adverse situations of women in our society arose. She held a tough and bold stance in the support of women-power rising and women empowerment. Many critics express that her writing was full of feministic streaks and often sounded one-sided, well in reality a lot of pain in her writing was spiraled from her own life’s experiences. She was a bold writer that challenged the patriarchal nature of the society.

In the anthology of short stories ‘The Kept Woman and Other Stories’, Kamala Das explores the plight, agony and various woeful issues of women in her own country, India. All stories have been put forward through women’s point of view and each story is based around a girl or woman, varying in transitions, like a young girl remembering her grandmother, a matured keep in the custody of a politician, a girl’s despicable marriage in the neighborhood and so on. Her focus was to shed light on events that often remained housed, probably for reasons like stigma, cowardice, or fear of revelation.

The title story - The Kept Woman - is indeed a riveting one. It is a story about a woman living with a reputed politician despite knowing that she would see a tragic end. This collection poignantly studies and relates the man-woman relationship in the society. The writer has been honest in putting the incidences about sins, love, lust, and merits. The stories are more or less staged against Kerala or Calcutta. One can conclude that even today the society is the all-time antagonism that decides a woman’s status and roles. A society or nation cannot grow if the freedom to women is given via clipped wings.

Despite being full of womanly accounts, this book is not set on feministic pillars which clearly make it a poignant work. For women longing for change, this book is a must read. Kamala Das was a very famous female writer from India. Her writings had always been in light for boldness and complex honesty. If you love honest accounts over fictionalized lies, then this book is for you.


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