The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma
Renuka Sharma is a dutiful wife, mother, and daughter-in-law holding the fort in a modest rental in Delhi while her husband tries to rack up savings in Dubai. Working as a receptionist and committed to finding a place for her family in the New Indian Dream of air-conditioned malls and high paid jobs at multi-national companies, life is going as planned until the day she strikes up a conversation with an uncommonly self-possessed stranger at a Metro station. Because while Mrs. Sharma may espouse traditional values, India is changing all around her, and it wouldn't be the end of the world if she came out of her shell a little, would it?
With equal doses of humor and pathos, The Private Life of Mrs Sharma is a sharp-eyed examination of the clashing of tradition and modernity, from a dramatic new voice in Indian fiction.
"Renu, the mesmerizing narrator in Ratika Kapur's The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma, has a gift for self-deception. It is baffling, then funny, and then quite poignant to witness . . . . The story [The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma] tells is taut, focused; its wider setting, the new India, pops with life. But the real star of this show is Renu, the Mrs. Sharma of the book's title. She starts in one dimension, then gradually plumps into three."
The New York Times
"[Mrs. Sharma's] words reveal a dignity more private and complex than society can perceive. The book is worthwhile, and quick to read--perfect for your train ride to work."
The New York Times Book Review
"[Sharma's] fraught, often humorous and irreverent narration is a study in cognitive dissonance, in which she is constantly trying to reconcile the complex stimuli of Delhi with the image of herself as a simple woman from a good family. Even as cultural products can feel increasingly generic in our technologically advanced global marketplace, Kapur proves that a gifted writer can still powerfully capture a complex voice from a singular place and time."
starred review, Kirkus Reviews
"The battle between then and now comes alive in Kapur's novel of life in an evolving India. Renuka's inner conflict mirrors that of her nation's battle to participate in an increasingly global world while maintaining traditions and cultural heritage. A beautiful, tragic, and highly recommended work by a writer previously long-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize."
"In Mrs. Sharma, Ms. Kapur has fashioned a memorably double-sided character for a novel that, like a gathering storm, changes before your eyes from soft light to enveloping darkness."
The Wall Street Journal