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Ladies Coupé

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  3,344 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
Meet Akhila: forty-five and single, an income-tax clerk, and a woman who has never been allowed to live her own life - always the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the provider - until the day she gets herself a one-way ticket to the seaside town of Kanyakumari. In the intimate atmosphere of the all-women sleeping car - the 'Ladies Coupe' - Akhila asks the five women the que ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2001)
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Atula Kapoor I had the same question after I finished reading the book. But now I think the author wants to imply that it should be alright for women to use men…moreI had the same question after I finished reading the book. But now I think the author wants to imply that it should be alright for women to use men for their physical gratification, just as men do. I don't think Akhila engages with other men because she feels any attachment or a need for their presence in her life. She just wants to live independently and outrageously, not bound by any social constraints, including those of morality, honor or dignity as prescribed by the society and imposed only on women. This stance can be controversial, but that's the stance, I guess. (less)
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Vani Vani
Aug 06, 2015 Vani Vani rated it liked it
Can a woman live alone and be happy or does she always need a man to give meaning to her life? Through a prose that is as insightful and multi layered as it is thought provoking, the author questions a society that denies any happiness to a woman except that which comes to her through her family or her husband as if she has no identity of her own. Can a woman not seek out happiness on her own terms just as a man would? What about women who choose to break the canons of this society; are they con ...more
Sep 08, 2007 Irene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a ladies coupe is a special room with second class reservation for overnight trains in india. this book is about six women (the "I" changes depending on the story teller) who met each other inside that coupe. (a coupe, my housemate told me this morning over breakfast, is a car body type that has a fixed roof among others; a convertible coupe has a moveable roof but still has the rigid structure of a coupe.) the novel opens with this: "this is the way it has always been: the smell of a railway pl ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Prash rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
full of cliches. the prose is un-illuminating. the stories of the five women are so banal one'd almost shudder to meet them in real life. supposed to be a text -book for writing in univs. as interesting as a textbook really.
I had great expectations for this book and have waited for almost a year or more to read it. Finally when I laid my hands on it, somehow it let me down.(And co-incidently I read it during a train journey, but not in a ladies coupe. ) It links the lives of 6 women from various backgrounds who happen to be in a ladies coupe of a long distance train. And as expected, their lives are not beds of roses. Except for one or two, all had quite okay lives from Indian standard, and the common thing they ha ...more
Jun 29, 2008 Sally rated it really liked it
Wonderous kismet library find, this book. Glad I stumbled across it while shortcutting through the "N" aisle. Picked it up because of it's pretty and colorful paperback spine, to be honest. The book lived up to all the glowing GR reviews and back cover promises.

Tells the individual stories from first person point of view of every one of the five ladies sharing an overnight car on the Kanyakumari Express from Bangalore, India. Overarching story told from the perspective of Akhila, arcing from he
Akhila has always thought of others, never herself. Since her father died, she has become the provider of the family. The other siblings have been married off, and she has turned 45 years old. She is not married and have no children. Does a woman need a man to feel complete? Is it possible to have a purpose on one's own?

The author investigates the woman's destiny with a feminist approach. Women who don't accept their place, which is to belong to a man and serve him, are treated badly. Akhila has
Jun 05, 2012 Prerna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The premise is interesting. Six women travelling in a ladies coupé, each taking turns to tell the story of their rebellion and their subsequent empowerment. But the book didn't really wow me. It kept me hooked, but even while I read it, I kept feeling that this book could have been written so much better.
First of all, all the six stories seem to be about the same thing in the end. How someone/something tries to keep these women down, how they refuse to be controlled and suppressed, how they face
Jun 10, 2015 Book'd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To begin with:
One of the most sensitive family drama I have read in a long time.

I have been reading lot of rave reviews about Anita Nair's work since long. After reading the praise for the book at the back cover from around the world compelled me to buy the book without a single thought.

The Story:
This is the story of Akhilandeshwari aka Akhila, 45 year unmarried woman from a traditional family. She is a breadwinner for her family consisting her mother, a sister and two brothers after the death o
Mar 15, 2015 Emanuela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scritto con stile scorrevole dove si alternano descrizioni ambientali molto colorate dagli oggetti in uso delle donne indiane, i sari o i fiori carnosi dalle tinte forti che contrastano con i grigiori dell'anima repressa delle protagoniste, che si raccontano le rispettive vite durante un viaggio notturno in treno.
Ciascuna soffre della subalternità sessista e lotta contro la povertà o il pregiudizio, non tanto diverso da quello che si poteva vivere da noi ancora nella metà del secolo scorso.
Jan 11, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: beth, jax, shannon
I really enjoyed this book. Nair provides several snapshots of the lives of several Indian women who have struggled to find themselves in an extremely rigid society. Her language is quite lovely, and each woman's story compells you to read further. I'm left feeling grateful for the choices available to me, and reminded that many obstacles are common to all women.
Ms. Gee
Nov 04, 2008 Ms. Gee is currently reading it
So far, this is a wonderful book. This is one of those books that I actually picked up a few years ago, started reading (probably on vacation) and just never finished. I'm now getting back into this classic story told thru the eyes of an Idian woman, but a classic story that can be seen/told around the globe. Def. a book that you want t curl up with and continue reading as the hours pass! :)
Aug 05, 2011 Elisabetta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intense, recipes, life, indi
I was somehow disappointed from this reading. I've heard so many times talking about this book like something different from the "usual Indian fiction" and how intense and deep was this novel, that I maybe formed it in my mind like something different. I think that the plot is good: an unmarried Indian woman, after having took care of her family after the death of her father, finds herself different from what she would have been. She is still living with her younger sister - who has her own fami ...more
Feb 06, 2015 Jyothsna rated it it was amazing
A number of things about this book may seem even alien to a non Indian reader or even to those in India who have been fortunate enough to be born into and raised in open minded circles. However, the women in this book make a decent cross section of women in India. All of these women have not broken away from social norms, they all still live within it to a certain extent, but have decided to give themselves what they most desire in whatever way they saw fit. This book brings out an inherent qual ...more
Jun 26, 2013 Olesya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Predivan roman koji nam otkriva priče i sudbine žena koje putuju zajedničkim kupeom. Središnji lik romana je Akhila, žena koja je u svojoj 45. godini zaboravila što znači biti žena. Životne okolnosti su joj dodijelile ulogu skrbnice, hraniteljice svoje obitelji, braće i sestara. Osjeća da još ništa nije postigla u svom životu, a da joj život polako izmiče iz ruke. Sjeda u ženski kupe u kojem služa priče svojih suputnica i pokušava donijeti ispravnu odluku, krenuti ispravnim putem, te po prvi put ...more
Feb 16, 2014 Didi rated it liked it
Ladies Coupé is the story of Akhila and six other women that she meets on the train. Akhila is searching for the answer to the question ‘Can she live alone?’ Traditionally in Indian culture women are supposed to get married and if that doesn’t happen their only other alternative is to live with family. Akhila has been the breadwinner of her family since the death of her father when she was in her early twenties. She worked providing financial support to her mother, younger brothers and sister as ...more
Deepu George
May 11, 2014 Deepu George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People always have a tendency to peep into others lives especially us Indians. So we live in a cage of society thinking what others think if we do a thing a specific way and that is affecting our surf to freedom. Anita Nair in her book just ridicules these and tells the story hw the protagonist escapes the minds cave and finds freedom. A very good read . A totally diff way of story telling.... Go for it..... U may find the deeds of certain charecters hard to explain but the story holds together ...more
Apr 18, 2007 Margaret rated it liked it
Broad concept of the book is interesting, but the actual text fell short with some parts feeling forced, bits of prose being too predictable and the ending too cheesy. Still, a few isolated scenes, phrases, and analogies made the book worth the very quick read. One of my favorite parts was the author's illustration of characters using the properties and potential reactions of various chemical elements and compounds. Perhaps better as a movie?
Nov 08, 2008 Eleanor rated it it was amazing
This is a tremendous book. It is the story of Akhia, a 45 year old Indian woman, and how she becomes her own person after a train ride in a Ladies Coupe (sleeping car) with other women who in the space of night change Akhia's life by telling their stories, but reminding her she must think for herself. A VERY, VERY good book
Jun 05, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it
This book was a window into the Indian culture. One woman went on a trip, and on the train, she met five other women and listened to their life stories. It was interesting to read about the (fictional) lives of these very different Indian women.
Raksha Basav
Category : traditional family drama
Anita nair is said to be one of the finest feminist writers in Indian writing in english with an international reputation.”ladies coupe” is nair’s second novel and has been translated into more than twenty five languages around the world.

Overnight Trains before 1998 had a reserved compartment for women called Ladies coupe.

Meet Akhila, who is a spinster and leaves in a tradition bound atmosphere where people beleave ‘women can live and cope themself alone’.
Jul 12, 2016 Preethy rated it really liked it

"Ladies coupe" is a story about the lives of 6 women who happen to travel together on a train's ladies coupe. Before dissecting the strength of the story and exploring the characters , one thing that the book was able to do to me was it made me reminisce my childhood train journeys. The good old ladies coupe was like a semi- private first class bay with doors that could be closed for safety (well most of the times!!).There were also times when men have been allotted tickets on a ladies coupe as
Jyoti Babel
Aug 15, 2011 Jyoti Babel rated it liked it
Meet Akhilandeshwari aka Akhila. 45 years old, spinster, an income tax clerk, a daughter, a sister, the only provider for the family after her father died. She has played all the roles all her life but she has never been herself. One day, she decides to shed off all responsibilities and buys a one way ticket to Kanyakumari, the southern most part of India, to be away from all the people she had known all her life, to find the ‘Akhilandeshwari’ which was lost somewhere in the midst of duties and ...more
R.C. Bean
“The story of a woman’s search for strength and independence” claims the book’s tagline – at the risk of sounding cliché, Anita Nair has still used a powerful line to kindle one’s curiosity enough to decide to give this book a try. The cover page is arresting – kudos to the creator. The emotions that play on the faces are hard to miss.

The tale comprises of six women, battling life in their own ways, and their chance meeting in the ladies coupé of a south-headed train. Akhila – a 45-year-old bitt
Lakshmy Chatterjee
Dec 22, 2015 Lakshmy Chatterjee rated it it was amazing
Ladies Coupe is the second book of Anita Nair's that I have read, the first being Mistress. I love the way she writes. In fact, I think she is one of the best Indian authors we have today. She always weaves great stories around characters who have shades of gray. They are less than perfect, but you still love them for their imperfections. In fact, you root for their imperfections. In Ladies Coupe as well, the protagonist is Akhiladeswari, a spinster who has made sacrifices for her family. Somebo ...more
Jul 13, 2012 Hema rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this book on 5th July. while I was browsing through my recommendations on goodreads, I saw a recommendation for this book, and happened to get to this book that very week. The story is about a lady from a middle class family who is single and is now in her 40's feeling lonely. This setting of the novel is very neat, the author has done a really good job about bringing the intricate details about the setting on the family which resides in south India. There are other two characters Janaki ...more
Audacia Ray
Dec 14, 2009 Audacia Ray rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2009
I really wanted to love this book - I picked it up in Delhi at an English-language bookshop when I was there in September because it was on the store's recommended list. It's a quick, engaging read that is essentially a feminist tome disguised as chick lit. But somehow, I just felt like the characters were a bit flat. To paraprhase what another reviewer says, the basic arc for pretty much all the characters is, "first I did what was expected of me, and I was miserable - then I did what I wanted ...more
-Feminidad universal, localización exótica.-

Género. Novela.

Lo que nos cuenta. El viaje de un tren nocturno une a varias mujeres en una zona reservada para ellas. Akhila, nuestra protagonista, servirá de hilo conductor para que conozcamos más sobre sus diferentes compañeras de viaje y, quizás, sobre ella misma.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:
Oct 27, 2009 Sujatha rated it liked it
Though the fact that the women start blurting out the darkest secrets at the drop of a hat in an overnight journey is something hard to comprehend , it does bring out various moods of women and things are explained in a subtle way. Like the characterization in her previous books all the woman have this tinge of arrogance overbearing their other traits . Its a Book which need to be read without expecting much answers to life's immortal questions..
Apr 11, 2008 Chitra rated it really liked it
A liberating story if there exists such a term. The book made me think over how, many a time what we as women consider living is mere existence. How much inner strength is needed to break free of the bonds of relationships, down the walls in our minds; was also something which this book made me to ponder about.
Jul 14, 2014 Leonor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
Uma história maravilhosa sobre as várias formas pelas quais a independência no feminino pode conduzir à felicidade numa sociedade e numa cultura em que tal é visto como desonra. Anita Nair constrói uma narrativa fluida e belíssima, capaz de desenhar personagens sólidas e ambientes pormenorizados.
Um romance maravilhoso.
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La Stamberga dei ...: Cuccette per signora di Anita Nair 1 4 Jun 09, 2013 06:34AM  
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“Ali znaš što? ... Srce je staklena narukvica. Jedan trenutak nepažnje i cijelo je u komadićima ... to znamo, zar ne? Ali i dalje nastavljamo nositi staklene narukvice. Svaki put kad se razbiju, mi kupimo nove nadajući se da će ovaj put duže trajati. Kako smo blesave, mi žene. Trebale bismo nositi narukvice od granita i u to pretvoriti naša srca. Ali one ne bi tako lijepo uhvatile svjetlost ili zanosno zveckale...” 3 likes
“El amor es un líquido incoloro, volátil. El amor se inflama y arde. El amor no deja residuos: ni humo ni ceniza. El amor es un veneno disfrazado de vino.” 2 likes
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