It is an anthology of stories by Indian Women that was published in 1991 and I picked it up around 2000 as a reprint version. Happened to chance on it while rummaging by book collection and re-read it with great enthusiasm.
The writers are all women who trace their roots in the Indian sub-continent though quite a few of them are now settled abroad in the US and UK – part of the celebrated Indian diaspora.Quite a few are also translated versions of vernacular tales.
In a lucid introduction the editor explains some of the constraints that impacted the stories selected for the anthology. In all we have 18 tales and the choice tends to focus more of English writers and writers who seem to have settled abroad. A few translations of vernacular stories are included but they are indeed an exception than the rule. However we must accept that the editor did the best possible of a bad job since many constraints impact such an anthology. It is still quite representative and an Indian reader will have little trouble in discovering the familiar world.
And it is all there – patriarchy, provincialism, paternal attitudes, feudal set ups, the angst of women trapped in situations not of their own choice. And yet the stories are not all that depressing – an exotic range of coping mechanisms evolve. From rebellion to stoicism, our ladies have found devices to manage their circumstances. Indeed in many the male characters are quite in the background and the tale does focus on the fairer sex.