21 September, 2020

In Mandodari’s Boudoir

Nudging the reader out of habit and complacency, the author constantly tests the barriers of the possible and probable.

In Mandodari’s Boudoir

Manjula Padmanabhan is a writer’s writer, a cult heroine for those who value the craft and beauty of literary endeavour. Her formidable and eclectic genius embraces theatre, illustrative art, journalism, and what has been described as ‘speculative fiction’ for children and adults. Wry, whimsical and unblinking, her writing has been labelled ‘dystopian’ and even ‘post-apocalyptic’. Nudging the reader out of habit and complacency, she is constantly testing the barriers of the possible and the probable.

Many years ago, I reviewed her collection of short stories, Cold Soup and Hot Death. Some of these resurface in the just released Three Virgins and Other Stories. I wrote then that “Padmanabhan’s world is determinedly surreal, and spans a range of situations from a would-be Sati to science fiction and metapsychosis. What strings this magical mystery tour together is the stern cerebration of Padmanabhan’s mind....” It was disconcerting to re-encounter the title story, the taut narrative even...



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