No points for guessing why I picked up this book . Probably any young independent woman belonging to a traditional middle class family will identify easily with just the title of the book i.e if books were to be judged by their titles alone . Nevertheless, Difficult Daughters proves to be a good read with a racy plot set in the backdrop of India’s partition.
This novel is authored by Manju Kapur, who is a faculty in Miranda House, Delhi and references to whom I found in the Facebook wall of one of my Miranda friends. The story explores the role of education in the life of Virmati, the main protaganist and her illicit relationship with a married Professor.The Professor falls in love with his student Virmati and inspires her to pursue higher education. He however lacks the guts to break free from his loveless marriage.Virmati, who is portrayed as more gullible but stronger of the two, declines another proposal for an arranged marriage, and hence draws the ire of her entire family.Her intellectual pursuits are as much marked by courage as marred by the sexual crave of her spineless lover and the lack of emotional support from her family. And the conclusion can neither be described as happy or sad, but difficult at best.
Though times are changing and our society is increasingly becoming more forward, marriage and not education is still considered as the ultimate goal in the life of a girl. Our society is still averse to the idea of an independent woman. And choosing to be an independent woman most often comes with a price. Though this is a work of fiction, the themes explored in the novel are very much real social issues.And all I can say is that anyone who is proud to be a woman or considers herself as a feminist even in the most subtlest of fashions, would definitely love this book