Mehar dreams of freedom and a life with her children. Asiya dreams of her daughter’s happiness. Sajida dreams of becoming a doctor. Subaida dreams of the day when her family will become free of woes. Parveen dreams of a little independence, a little space for herself in the world. Mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, neighbours…
In this tiny Muslim village in Tamil Nadu, the lives of these women are sustained by the faith they have in themselves, in each other, and the everyday compromises they make. Salma’s storytelling – crystalline in its simplicity, patient in its unravelling – enters this interior world of women, held together by love, demarcated by religion, comforted by the courage in dreaming of better futures.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
“Women, Dreaming is an evocative double bill of fierce feminine lifescapes, with the iconic Salma’s searing Tamil narrative rendered in translucent English by Meena Kandasamy imbued with the fragrance of Tamil.
Women grapple with life in a universe constructed by men, for men[,] in this moving story set in a tiny village in Tamil Nadu. Despite the claustrophobic trappings of religious patriarchy, they chart their own course and find their own voice. In Salma’s splendid telling, even those who appear to remain static resist through words and silence. It is writing that describes the inner universe of women who do not know the outside world. Salma deftly shows [how] these women navigate their sad, emotional landscape, holding time in their hands, gradually stepping outside their sorrows. India International Centre Library, India