Author(s): Balli Kaur Jaswal
Reese Witherspoon's Book Club Pick
A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women's lives at all ages--a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.
Every woman has a secret life . . .
Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she's spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.
Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected--and exciting--kind.
As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community's "moral police." But when the widows' gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife--a modern woman like Nikki--and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.
`Big-hearted, earthy and funny: turns so many preconceptions upside down. A rattlingly good story' Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel `Warm and hilariously funny' Good Housekeeping `Charming, hilarious and thoughtful' The Pool `Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows balances darkness and light, social commentary and ecstatic escapism... funny and moving tale of desire and its discontents' The Economist `Sensual, authentic and hilarious, I will never look at an aubergine in the same way again - 5 stars' The Sun `Enlightening and entertaining' Woman & Home `A dark comedy... about empowerment and friendship' Tatler `A page turner... Tackles serious themes with a light and funny touch' Glamour `Funny yet serious, this is a fab book about women, culture and secrets' Prima `By turns erotic, romantic, and mysterious, this tale of women defying patriarchal strictures enchants' Kirkus Reviews `Compulsive, funny and wonderfully original - this novel glows with witty sensuality. I love it ' Helen Lederer, Losing It `Poignant, intelligent yet wickedly funny - a delightful read that reignites one's belief in the power of sisterhood' June Sarpong
Balli Kaur Jaswal was born in Singapore and has lived all around the world, including Australia, Japan, Russia, the Philippines, Turkey, the US and the UK, where she was a writer in residence at UEA. Her novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, was inspired by the time she spent in Southall. She now lives in Singapore.