Yasodhara marries Sidhartha and hopes for a union like her parents, loving and caring, along with the comforts after she moves to her father-in-law’s palace. But Sidhartha’s father, the Raja, has always despised his son because he blames him for the loss of his beloved wife when she gave birth to Sidhartha. Full of hatred, he posts his son as governor to a remote northern village where they are given a small hut, where there is no servant, and Yasodhara must tend to a rice paddy field and vegetable garden, so they have food for the winter. But while Yasodhara soon finds joy in these tasks among the camaraderie of the village women, Sidhartha becomes moody and withdrawn and his interest in the philosophy of the ascetics deepens.
This is a story of The Buddha’s wife and how she tried to hang on to her marriage until her husband finally deserted her and their only son to follow what he termed, the middle path. I have read all of Selvadaurai’s novels and this is by far his best.
Darya grows up in an Afghanistan village in the 1850s under an overbearing father. He brings home a second wife who gives him the son he’s always wanted. Before the second wife leaves the family, she curses Darya so no one will marry her.
Eventually, she is married to Shaliq from a Ghilzai tribe whose cruel treatment forces her to flee. This leads to a long and dangerous journey Darya could never have dreamed of.
This is a fascinating tale of Chan Sam who left his wife in China to find gold in British Columbia. In Vancouver, he bought a concubine who worked in Chinatown to support both families.
The memoir gives a deep insight into the early lives of Chinese immigrants to Canada—the hard work they endured, the loneliness they faced, and the deep prejudice they suffered from both the government and the European community.
When Moth escapes the cruel servitude of Mrs Wentworth, she ends up in a brothel where the madam sees her as an innocent prize. Although she is warned of the dangers, she is anxious to escape from the hard life she has endured.
I couldn’t help see a parallel between this story and the skewed belief in some countries that a virgin will cure someone of AIDS.
If you enjoy this book, don’t miss MacKay’s The Birth House which is equally as good.