Junglee Girl

Ginu Kamani, Author
Ginu Kamani, Author Aunt Lute Books $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-879960-41-1
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 195 pages - 978-1-879960-40-4
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In the Indian province of Gujarat, where Kamani lived until she left for the U.S. at 14, a ``Junglee'' girl is an untamed, uncontrollable one. In these 11 short stories, characters span the gamut of women, the irony being that in India's sexually repressive traditional society, this pejorative term could be applied to any self-aware woman. But Kamani, a gifted, savvy writer, combines such precarious, complex elements as class, caste, gender and eroticism into readable, imaginative and often hilarious tales. Humor is both salve and salvation; it is earthy and bawdy, reminiscent of Colette's more raucous coming-of-sexual-age chronicles: in ``Lucky Dip,'' one school-girl's crush on another is complicated by her friend's lower-class status. Magic realism effectively shapes ``The Cure,'' in which a ``Dr. Doctor'' prescribes a choice to a girl uncontrollably growing into a giant--a lifetime of abstinence or marriage to himself. Especially poignant are depictions such as ``Cipher'' and ``Just Between Indians,'' in which modern Indian women confront the traditional mores they have abandoned. What is most notable is the vigor of the writing and the subtlety with which Kamani suggests the cultural ties that always threaten to bind women. Author tour. (May)
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