Purple Lotus: A Novel by Veena Rao
“The dazzling tale of an Indian-American woman finding her way through the labyrinth of tradition to self-awareness in the modern world. The writer employs an energetic prose style interspersed with melodic passages to make the writing itself a hybrid. Set in particular times and places, Purple Lotus nonetheless appeals to readers everywhere, especially women, to claim the full measure of their human rights. A vivid and resplendent novel for our time.”―Elaine Neil Orr, critically acclaimed author of Swimming Between Worlds
Tara moves to the American South three years after her arranged marriage to tech executive Sanjay. Ignored and lonely, Tara finds herself regressing back to childhood memories that have scarred her for life. When she was eight, her parents had left her behind with her aging grandparents and a schizophrenic uncle in Mangalore, while taking her baby brother with them to make a new life for the family in Dubai.
Tara’s memories of abandonment and isolation mirror her present life of loneliness and escalating abuse at the hands of her husband. She accepts the help of kind-hearted American strangers to fight Sanjay, only to be pressured by her patriarchal family to make peace with her circumstances. Then, in a moment of truth, she discovers the importance of self-worth—a revelation that gives her the courage to break free, gently rebuild her life, and even risk being shunned by her community when she marries her childhood love, Cyrus Saldanha.
Life with Cyrus is beautiful, until old fears come knocking. Ultimately, Tara must face these fears to save her relationship with Cyrus—and to confront the victim-shaming society she was raised within.
Intimate and deeply moving, Purple Lotus is the story of one woman’s ascension from the dark depths of desolation toward the light of freedom.