Shashi Deshpande is the second daughter of the famous Kannada dramatist and Sanskrit scholar, Sriranga. She was born in Dharwad in Karnataka, South India and was educated in Dharwad, Bombay and Bangalore. Deshpande has degrees in Economics and Law which she finished with a Gold Medal. After marriage, when she was living in Bombay (today's Mumbai) she did a course on journalism at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, and worked for a couple of months as a journalist for the magazine "Onlooker". She started writing at that time, publishing her first short story in 1970. To start with her stories were published in magazines like "Femina", Eve's Weekly", etc. "Legacy" the first collection of her short stories came out in 1978, and in 1980 her first novel, "The Dark Holds No Terrors" was published. In June 1999, The Feminist Press of New York brought out her latest novel, "A Matter of Time", her first work to be published in USA. She is a winner of the Sahitaya Akademi Award (for the novel, "That Long Silence") and the Nanjangud Thirumalamba award. Her short stories have been widely anthologised, most recently in "Best Loved Indian Stories", Vol. 1, published by Penguin India, 1999. "Small Remedies", her latest novel will be released in India on 16.3.2000. Shashi lives in Bangalore with her pathologist husband.
Devayani chooses to live alone in the small town of Rajnur after her parents' death, ignoring the gently voiced disapproval of her family and friends. Teaching English, creating a garden and making friends with Rani, a former actress who settles in the town with her husband and three children, Devayani's life is tranquil, imbued with a hard-won independence. Then she meets Ashok Chinappa, Rajnur's new District Superintendent of Police, and they fall in love despite the fact that Ashok is much older, married, and'as both painfully acknowledge from the very beginning'it is a relationship without a future.
Deshpande's unflinching gaze tracks the suffering, evasions and lies that overtake those caught in the web of subterfuge. There are no hostages taken in the country of deceit; no victors; only scarred lives. This understated yet compassionate examination of the nature of love, loyalty and deception establishes yet again Deshpande's position as one of India's most formidable writers of fiction.
A father who delights in the human body, its mysteries, its passion, and the knowledge that it contains and conceals. A mother who wields the power of her love mercilessly. A sister separated in childhood. An uncle who plays games of life and death as a member of the Bombay underworld. A passionate love affair that tears the family apart. And a young woman left to make sense of the world and of her own sexuality. Shashi Deshpande's new novel is about the secret lives of men and women who love, hate, plot and debate with an intensity that will absorb every reader.
The Narayanpur Incident India Book House, 1992. Reprinted by Puffin, 1995 ()
8 August 1942. Quit India! Gandhiji warns the British. As he and most leaders are put in jail the very next day, the people rise in protest. As schools close down, and family moves to Narayanpur, a sleepy little village seemingly untouched by the turbulence in the country. But Narayanpur is seething within, and it all comes to a head when a group of children dare to confront the police.