15 June, 2021

After Emma

Warning note that we need not give up all that is local to chalk our success; that we need indigenous, self-determined identities

After Emma
Small-town India opens its arms and embraces the global pursuits of property dealers, movie actresses, power and pelf. Shashi Deshpande cleverly reverses worldly priorities by situating In The Country Of Deceit in nondescript Rajnur. Devayani, single and 27, is a modest teacher of English with a penchant for gardening and an untested capacity for gifting love. A fading actress turns to her, the domestic help receives succour, and a bevy of relatives write letters expressing affectionate concern.

Arrives Ashok Chinappa, the DSP of Rajnur, and though older and married, declares his love for Devayani. Shashi Deshpande’s extraordinary skill in portraying inner psychology builds a tale of beauty rather than cheating. Promises of a durable relation are neither made nor expected. In being together, the lovers find tenderness and understanding; apart, they do not exist in each other’s functional world. Their ecstasy outweighs the pain of separation. The novel exquisitely captures fragile relations. Adultery is an ugly word that has been...

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