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Viswanathan Padma

The Toss of a Lemon

The Toss of a Lemon Genre: prose
Annotation:
'The Toss of a Lemon joins the company of the great novels on India.' Yann Martel

***

In a fiction debut to rival The God of Small Things, Padma Viswanathan gives us a richly detailed and intimate vision of an India we`ve never seen.

Inspired by her family history, Padma Viswanathan brings us deep inside the private lives of a Brahmin family as the subcontinent moves through sixty years of intense social and political change. At the novel`s heart is Sivakami, a captivating girl-child married at ten to an astrologer and village healer who is drawn to her despite his horoscope, which foretells an early death-depending on how the stars align when their children are born. All is safe with their daughter`s birth, but their second child, a son named Vairum, fulfills the prophecy: by eighteen, the child bride Sivakami is a widow with two young children.

According to the dictates of her caste, her head is shaved and she must don the widow`s white sari. From dawn to dusk, she is not allowed to contaminate herself with human touch, not even to comfort her small children. She dutifully follows custom, except for one act of rebellion: she insists on a secular education for her troubled son. While her choice ensures that Vairum fulfills his promise in a modernizing India, it also sets Sivakami on a collision course with him. Vairum, fatherless in childhood, childless as an adult, rejects the caste identity that is his mother`s mainstay, twisting their fates in fascinating and unbearable ways.

The Toss of a Lemon is heartbreaking and exhilarating, profoundly exotic and yet utterly recognizable in evoking the tensions that change brings to every family`s doorstep. It is also the debut of a major new voice in world fiction.
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hide Table of Contents

  1. Padma Viswanathan The Toss of a Lemon
  2. PART ONE
  3. 1. Thangam 1896
  4. 2. Vairum 1902
  5. 3. Only one, as an eye 1902
  6. 4. Fever 1904
  7. 5. Buried Treasure 1904
  8. 6. Siddha Song 1904-1905
  9. PART TWO
  10. 7. Her Father ’s House 1905
  11. 8. The House Safe 1906
  12. 9. High Time 1907
  13. 10. A Woman Alone 1908
  14. 11. This Is for You 1908
  15. PART THREE
  16. 12. Muchami Gets Married 1908
  17. 13. A Hidden Coin 1908
  18. 14. Festival Days 1908
  19. 15. A Coming of Age 1914
  20. 16. Another Coming of Age 1914
  21. 17. Vairum Steps Up 1914
  22. 18. The Arrival of Children 1915
  23. PART FOUR
  24. 19. Keeping Faith in Kulithalai 1917
  25. 20. Far from Home 1919
  26. THIRUCHINAPALLI.
  27. 21. Two Blooms 1920
  28. 22. Yellow Money 1920-1921
  29. 23. No Harm Done 1923-1926
  30. 24. Two Ramayanas 1929
  31. PART FIVE
  32. 25. JanakiStartsSchool 1931
  33. 26. The Son of a Son 1932
  34. CHILD DID NOT SURVIVE STOP
  35. 27. Thangam Visits 1934
  36. 28. In the Karnatak Country 1934
  37. PART SIX
  38. 29. Time to Go 1938
  39. 30. Rainy Season 1940
  40. 31. Gold to Ash 1940
  41. 32. Not Another Mother 1940
  42. 33. A Suitable Girl 1941-1942
  43. 34. Madras, the City by the Sea 1942
  44. PART SEVEN
  45. 35. The Tumbling Stars 1942
  46. 36. At Home in Madras 1942
  47. 37. Married Life 1943
  48. 38. The Barber Lover 1945
  49. 39. A Jasmine at Dawn 1945
  50. 40. Late Surprise 1945-1946
  51. 41. Private Cares 1946-1952
  52. 42. Touring Talkies 1952
  53. 43. Bharati Moves In 1957
  54. 44. Summer Hols 1958
  55. Epilogue
  56. Acknowledgements
  57. Padma Viswanathan


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