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The Bandit Queens

de Parini Shroff

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6053939,925 (3.9)68
"A young Indian woman falsely rumored to have killed her husband finds a way to make her unfortunate reputation surprisingly useful--but complications arise when other village women seek her help offing their husbands--in this provocative, razor-sharp debut. "The Bandit Queens heralds a prodigious and sophisticated literary talent." Ta Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of Inland In the five years since her husband's disappearance, Geeta has become accustomed to a solitary life; you'd be surprised how difficult it is to make friends when your entire village believes you're a witch who murdered your husband. And since she can't convince anyone that she didn't murder him, she figures she might as well use her fearsome reputation to protect herself as a woman on her own. But when other women in the village decide that they, too, want to be "self-made" widows and rid themselves of their abusive husbands, Geeta's reputation becomes a double-edged sword--the very thing that's meant to keep her safe is now threatening everything she's built as she unwittingly becomes the go-to consultant for village husband-disposal. Unfortunately, Geeta finds that even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry, and the women find themselves caught in a web of their own making--and long-estranged friendships will have to be re-formed if they hope to make it out of their mess alive. Acerbic, insightful, and full of dark humor, Parini Shroff's The Bandit Queens--with its unique combination of poignant social commentary and irreverence--is an absolutely unforgettable novel"--… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porkellycait, JFBCore, nichollinlove, calvson, InkandQuill, Busywolf, biblioteca privada
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Mostrando 1-5 de 37 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
“The Bandit Queens” is a page-turner filled with homicide and humor, set in a rural town in modern day India. The book focuses on a group of women who receive microloans to run their small businesses. One of the women, Geeta, is an outsider in the community ever since her abusive husband disappeared five years ago and everyone believes she murdered him. Unfortunately, a woman from her microloan group is desperate for Geeta’s “experience” in husband killing and forces Geeta to help her. This is the beginning of a twisty, darkly humorous, and sometimes absurd story, but even with the murders, it is a story with plenty of heart. I loved the focus on the relationships that Geeta forms throughout the story with people in her community. The female friendships in particular were delightful—even if they weren’t always friendly.

Although homicidal intentions abound in this book, Geeta is a likable character who I was rooting for. I read the second half of the book in one evening because I had to find out how it was all going to end. I was intrigued by the summary, but I never expected to love the book as much as I did. The balance of the heavier social issues with humor and a likeable main character made this book really work for me. ( )
  caaleros | May 17, 2024 |
I really loved this one. Sure it was a bit heavy-handed and unsubtle on certain themes, and the satisfying ending was maybe *too* tidy, but overall it was a delightful romp that I couldn't put down, recommended. ( )
  krtierney | May 6, 2024 |
Shroff addresses some very heavy subjects in a darkly comedic way that makes this novel highly entertaining. ( )
  bookwyrmm | May 2, 2024 |
Such a different book! The main character becomes partner in murdering husbands (who are abusers). Set in a small village India present day, the book is more than a mystery, it has elements of female friendships, stereotypes, cultural norms. I will want to reread this one. ( )
  bereanna | May 1, 2024 |
Five years ago, Geeta's no-good husband disappeared, and most other people in their rural Indian village think she killed him. She didn't. But her reputation gets around, and some other women with terrible husbands start seeking her help with offing them, and shenanigans ensue.

There are things to like about Parini Shroff's The Bandit Queens—mostly the moments of somewhat dark humour, and the complicated and prickly female friendships—but this was a debut novel that needed not just one but probably at least two more drafts before it was published. The tone is wildly uneven and the dialogue often stilted.

I get there are always compromises to be made when you're writing a book in English but the characters are really "speaking" in another language (in this case, Gujarati). Not every concept will translate, capturing particular cadences might be difficult, and so on. But here Shroff repeatedly indulges in one of my pet hates, where a word that does have an equivalent in English is left in the "original" language for... coyness? Humour? Colour? I don't know. But I do know that every time a character goes to "make su-su" in this book (and it's a lot), I was gritting my teeth and saying "just say 'pee'!" Shroff's linguistic register is also all over the map—characters sprinkle their dialogue with as many "likes" as an American millennial and much of the prose is fairly informal, but occasionally we're told that a character has a "falcate back" or that one of the women has made an "aperçu". At one point, one woman refers to another as "zaftig." Encountering Yiddish slang in a rural west Indian context does break suspension of disbelief a little.

And that ties into the other major issue that I had with The Bandit Queens, which is that there was a lot about the framing and subtlety of approach (or lack thereof) which made it clear that Shroff is an American of Indian heritage rather than being born and raised in India. I had the sense that for an Indian to read this would probably be what it's like for me most of the time when I read a book by an Irish-American set in Ireland.

I think Shroff has potential as a writer and I wouldn't swear off her future work, but this was a bit of a disappointment. ( )
  siriaeve | Apr 7, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 37 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Geeta, a young Indian woman who her neighbors suspect has killed her husband, unintentionally becomes the focal point of town gossip but also a figure of admiration in Parini Shroff’s novel, “The Bandit Queens.” She neither confirms nor denies their suspicions of her guilt, opting to take on the notoriety of a murderer, rather than the shame of a woman left by her husband.....Childless and a loner, Geeta can’t relate to her nattering female cohorts, and I can’t blame her. Though terrible fates have befallen all of them, they feel like caricatures, discussing little else than the uselessness of their husbands or their self-sacrifice as parents justified by the unparalleled “joys of motherhood...Shroff’s narrative was never quite successful in engaging this reader enough to really care about the outcome.
 
In Parini Shroff’s debut novel, “The Bandit Queens,” a group of wives get the ultimate revenge on their no-good husbands......“Women were built to endure the rules men make,” Parini Shroff writes in her debut novel, “The Bandit Queens,” which covers a litany of grim realities in rural India: poverty, hunger, alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual assault and a caste system, to name a few. This might sound depressing, but Shroff manages to spin all of the above into a radically feel-good story about the murder of no-good husbands by a cast of unsinkable women....“The book’s quick pacing stems from Shroff’s reliance on rapid dialogue, which is sometimes clever, sometimes inane, but always succeeds in creating the vibe of village gossip, with its volley of quips and comebacks......Occasionally, the constant chatter feels misplaced; for instance, a third-act standoff feels downright dippy despite the high stakes.
 
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"A young Indian woman falsely rumored to have killed her husband finds a way to make her unfortunate reputation surprisingly useful--but complications arise when other village women seek her help offing their husbands--in this provocative, razor-sharp debut. "The Bandit Queens heralds a prodigious and sophisticated literary talent." Ta Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of Inland In the five years since her husband's disappearance, Geeta has become accustomed to a solitary life; you'd be surprised how difficult it is to make friends when your entire village believes you're a witch who murdered your husband. And since she can't convince anyone that she didn't murder him, she figures she might as well use her fearsome reputation to protect herself as a woman on her own. But when other women in the village decide that they, too, want to be "self-made" widows and rid themselves of their abusive husbands, Geeta's reputation becomes a double-edged sword--the very thing that's meant to keep her safe is now threatening everything she's built as she unwittingly becomes the go-to consultant for village husband-disposal. Unfortunately, Geeta finds that even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry, and the women find themselves caught in a web of their own making--and long-estranged friendships will have to be re-formed if they hope to make it out of their mess alive. Acerbic, insightful, and full of dark humor, Parini Shroff's The Bandit Queens--with its unique combination of poignant social commentary and irreverence--is an absolutely unforgettable novel"--

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