A Matter of Time
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SHASHI DESHPANDE is one of India's most distinguished living authors. She has written seven novels, including A Matter of Time, as well as several volumes of short stories and a number of children's books. She is the winner of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award.

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A Matter of Time

Shashi Deshpande

Afterword by Ritu Menon

One morning, with no warning, Gopal, respected professor, devoted husband, and caring father, walks out on his family for reasons even he cannot articulate. His wife, Sumi returns with their three daughters to the shelter of the Big House, where her parents live in oppressive silence: they have not spoken to each other in 35 years. As the mystery of this long silence is unraveled, a horrifying story of loss and pain is laid bare—a story that seems to be repeating itself in Sumi's life.

This multigenerational story, told in the individual voices of the characters, catches each in turn the cycles of love, loss, strength, and renewal that becomes an essential part of the women's identities. A Matter of Time reveals the hidden springs of character while painting a nuanced portrait of the difficulties and choices facing women—especially educated, independent women—in India today.

"Austere, philosophical, and rich; a work that . . . grows in moral force and pathos."

The New York Times Book Review

"With delicate compassion and needle-sharp insights, Deshpande delineates the battle to build an independent life against the backdrop of ancient discriminations and daily humiliations. . . . The novel's rich, nuanced prose weaves the tale of four generations of women into a complex tapestry."

Ms. magazine

"This novel places Deshpande in distinguished international company [for] readers who enjoy Anita Brookner or Isabel Allende."

Publishers Weekly

"A very satisfying piece of reading and a significant contribution to the world of literature because of . . . the poignancy and sensitivity with which it handles the characters and their worlds."

The Book Review

"A poignant peep into the tangled web of human relationships."


"This strength of Deshpande's fiction lies in its compassion, its tolerance and understanding of human relationships."

Times Literary Supplement

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