Veteran writer Namita Gokhale‘s new book that explores traditional bonds of an Indian joint family in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be released on September 27, Penguin Random House India announced on Monday.
The book, The Blind Matriarch, is a family saga that is “a clear-eyed chronicle of the tragedies of India’s encounter with the coronavirus, the cynicism and despair that accompanied it, and the resilience and strength of the human spirit”.
“The Blind Matriarch, which I began just before the pandemic set in, followed through on thoughts and themes from many of my previous novels. It is a quiet book, paced in a real-time narrative of lock-down days, which examines the dynamics of the Indian joint family. The central character, the blind matriarch Matangi Ma, has remained in my heart and mind long after I finished the book,” Gokhale said.
The publisher said that the design of the book also had a story of its own as Penguin Random House India art director Ahlawat Gunjan commissioned an embroidered panel for the cover “which interlaces intricately with the many threads of the tale”.
“Namita Gokhale then wove elements of the panel itself into the rich tapestry of the book. The imagery on the cover reflects the narrative of the protagonist Matangi worked lovingly upon, even as her eyesight began abandoning her. Most jackets are the beginning of a book’s journey in the reader’s hands, but here it is also the very fabric of the book,” the publishing house added.
Gokhale has written 11 works of fiction and has written extensively on myth as well as the Himalayan region.
A co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Gokhale has received the Centenary National Award for Literature by the Asam Sahitya Sabha in Guwahati in 2017, the Sushila Devi Literature Award for her novel “Things to Leave Behind”, which also received the Best Fiction Jury Award at the Valley of Words Literature Festival 2017, and was on the longlist for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.
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