Swerving To Solitude: Keki Daruwalla’s take on Emergency, Communism

By A Staff Writer

Seema, married to a Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, voices her dissent during the Emergency, which leads (inevitably) to marital discord and, less predictably, to a new reckoning of her mother’s private history – mama’s feelings for MN Roy, a major leader of the Communist movement in British India and abroad, and her struggles to be supportive even after his disenchantment with Communism.

Suffused with paradoxes – empathy and arrogance, idealism and compromise, love and disdain, – Keki Daruwalla’s intricate and revealing novel Swerving to Solitude (Published by Simon and Schuster India) follows the intertwined lives of the spirited and darkly humorous Seema and her unconventional mother. The story moves from India to Canada, from US to Mexico, deftly traversing upheavals from the Russian Revolution to the travails of McCarthyism, in a novel that is intimate, political and extraordinary.

Keki N Daruwalla received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Asia in 1987, and the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in 2014. He is a literary stalwart of modern Indian literature who needs no introduction – his fans will be delighted to discover his latest offering.

This novel balances the political and the personal in a manner that is particularly relevant to our socio-cultural climate in India today.

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