Having read Shadow Play, I am of the firm opinion that Shashi Deshpande is brilliant at observing, describing and writing about women –their situation, relationships, nudging readers to notice many of the things women leave unsaid or half said. Shashi Deshpande is also wonderful at writing about children. Once I read an interview with her where she said she began to write soon after she became a mother. Shashi Deshpande is familiar with and is empathetic to the space women occupy in society in a manner that few have. Yet it may be time she discarded the need to use a fictional space like a novel to pour out her heart about the status of women and children in India, especially of the middle class. Her years of experience and anecdotes would be far more effective in non-fiction writing. Otherwise the yoking together of her passion for analysing and commenting upon gender equations with fiction seems very forced.
Shadow Play has been shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2014. ( http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/shortlist-of-the-six-novelists-of-the-hindu-prize-2014/article6471245.ece .) The award will be presented by Justice Leila Seth n 17 January 2015 in Chennai.
Shashi Deshpande Shadow Play Aleph Book Company, An independent publishing firm promoted by Rupa Publications India, 2013, Delhi. Hb. pp. 312 . Rs. 495.
12 January 2015