This book is a poignant account of how widows used to be treated in India. The tale is set in Gandhi’s time, when everything is changing for Indian citizens as well as all sorts of groups within this society. The story centers on twelve year old Leela. She lives in Jamlee, a small town settled deeply in tradition. Leela was engaged at two, married at nine, and will soon have her anu. This is a ceremony that lets Leela move in with her husband, Ramanlal. She is entranced by the glitter and glamour of this custom, and is even growing closer to Ramanlal. But then tragedy strikes. Ramanlal suffers a lethal bite from a snake and Leela’s life is changed forever. She grieves for Ramanlal, but she never really knew him. She is scared for all of the things a widow, as she now is, has to endure. It was said that living a widow’s life is living hell, and that may be true. Leela is forced to forgo the things that she has always known and loved, luxuries she had been given, as well as things that had always been a part of her. The worst part of this is “keeping corner”. A tradition making her stay inside her family property for a year. But Leela is strong, and decides to be tutored by her old principle. She starts paying attention to the world around her, and how things are changing. She hopes that there may be a future for her, even as a widow. Will her indefatigable efforts pay off? Find out in Keeping Corner, a vibrant novel that is well worth your time.
Book Review: Keeping Corner