Swerving to Solitude

Letters to Mama

Swerving to Solitude

We belong to old Lucknow—we don’t meet people, we offer salaams; our tawaifs were more cultured than the middle class housewives you find today, hunting on  tired legs for a bargain deal …
Seema, married to a Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, voices her dissent during the Emergency, which leads (inevitably) to marital discord and, less predictably, to a new reckoning of her mother’s private history – mama’s feelings for MN Roy, a major leader of the Communist movement in British India and abroad, and her struggles to be supportive even after his disenchantment with Communism. 
Suffused with paradoxes – empathy and arrogance, idealism and compromise, love and disdain – Keki Daruwalla’s intricate and revealing novel follows the intertwined lives of the spirited and darkly humorous Seema and her unconventional mother. The story moves from India to Canada, from US to Mexico, deftly traversing upheavals from the Russian Revolution to the travails of McCarthyism, in a novel that is intimate, political and extraordinary.
  • S&S India | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9789386797223 | 
  • August 2018
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About the Author

Keki N. Daruwalla

Keki N. Daruwalla is a highly-regarded Indian poet, short story writer and novelist in English. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984 for his poetry collection, The Keeper of the Dead; the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Asia in 1987; and the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in 2014. He lives in New Delhi.