This multicultural charmer is a perfect summer read for fans of books like Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. It’s an East-meets-West story of a westernized young Punjabi women who takes a job teaching creative writing at a Sikh community center in London. The women sign up for the class think they have signed up for a literacy class but embrace the spirit of creative writing, especially when one when one brings in a book of sexy stories.
As the women share their own stories, the “literacy class” becomes more and more popular while also drawing the attention of The Brotherhood—a self-styled moral police of conservative young men. Stir in a whodunit about the death of a young wife in the community; add a dollop of romance—and you’ve got a satisfying, sexy entertainment under pinned by some serious themes.
“Jaswal’s charming debut features an engaging protagonist who longs to break free from her more traditional mother’s expectations and who is still smarting from her father’s death, but it’s the portrayal of the women in Nikki’s class that is the highlight: these women are considered invisible, but through their writing they can be seen and their desires and dreams can be acknowledged. It’s a precious gift to give, and one Nikki comes to take very seriously. Additionally, the mystery of a young girl’s death offers an interesting twist at the end. This is a sparkling read, bolstered by a few of the women’s stories sprinkled in throughout.”
— Publishers Weekly
By turns erotic, romantic, and mysterious, this novel of women defying patriarchal strictures enchants.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Sometimes books call to you from the shelves. Jaswal’s remarkable, fiery cast of characters — her Punjabi widows of Southall, England — tell a story with a voice that is so sorely needed. The stories of people whose voices often go unheard — women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ folks — are invaluable in our nation’s fight for empathy.”
— Tara Bagnola, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (9780062645128) by Balli Kaur Jaswal. $26.99 hardcover. 6/13/17 on sale.