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That Long Silence
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That Long Silence

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Jaya's life comes apart at the seams when her husband is asked to leave his job while allegations of business malpractice against him are investigated. Her familiar existence disrupted, her husband's reputation in question and their future as a family in jeopardy, Jaya, a failed writer, is haunted by memories of the past. Differences with her husband, frustrations in their...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published January 1st 1989 by Penguin Books
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I picked up this book as a way to allay my guilty feeling for not reading enough Indian authors. Shashi Deshpande ranks high in the list of top Indian authors, so it was natural to pick up one of her books.

That Long Silence is the story of Jaya, a housewife and mother to two teenaged children and is a writer in her free time. Jaya’s life resembles any typical Indian housewife, compromising for family needs, putting family before oneself, suffering silently, until she gets a jolt when her husband...more
When it comes to beautiful writing, story takes a backseat for me and that is what happened with ‘That Long Silence by Shashi Deshpande’ .Her writing is something deep and exceptionally classy. It’s never too hard to connect to her protagonist that mainly deals with women and her emotional journey.
This book is no different. But this has neither any particular story nor any characters but for Jaya the protagonist who is struck between her wish and her duty,(her wish of becoming a free spirited w...more
Excellent writing, and a very moving book. Consistently depressing, though, with very little relief from the travails of the life led by Indian women. The plethora of catastrophies heaped on the narrators family are just short of unbelievable, but as a diary of the wrongs suffered silently by Indian wives, the book does justice to its subject.
Shashi Deshpande's portrayal of the protagonist, Jaya, is very powerful. We see glimpses of so many women around us in Jaya. With brutal honesty she lays bare the structures and workings of middle class families.
I was eager to go through this Sahitya Academy Award winning book and I wasn't dissapointed. The author definitely did a meticulous planning underlying the simple narration. It seemed that every action occurring had a reason behind it, a reason that tried to explain 'that long silence' of a woman caught up in reasoning out her life choices and also of those associated with her.
The end is a bit too sudden and abrupt. I felt that the sense of enlightenment came just too soon over her without much...more
Anil Swarup
Every one has a past. However, to be obsessed with it can lead to a terrible present. The chief protagonist chooses to live in her horrible past that makes for a terrible present. The author makes us believe that she does not have a choice. Hence the "heroine" (she questions this status") continues to recall the horrors of the past in terms of her relationship with her husband and those around her. One may agree or disagree with what she has to narrate but it is perhaps a true reflection of what...more
Jan 29, 2013 J.eswari is currently reading it
I want view the whole novel to read
Suhasini Srihari
Shashi Deshpande has once again dealt with 'women-issues', of how they are being treated and what the women actually want. I came across a picture of a 'modern' woman through the character of Jaya and to me this book was less feminist in tone and more of a self-search in criteria adopted. As Jaya comes back to her old house, through the recollection of the past events, she realizes that though she had the ability to make her own decisions, she had always left it to the others to do it for her. A...more
To my tastes, this might be the perfect feminist novel. Jaya's first-person narative captures an authentic female experience in middle class India. She frets, probes, justifies, and discovers parts of her psyche as she goes about the daily tasks of being "a career wife." In beautiful prose, Deshpande explores what it means to play a role and be one's self at the same time.
A typical of Deshpande's novel, where the protagonist is again at nervous breakdown and is talking to herself. THe psychoanalysis of her protagonists, is at times quite mundane and difficult to follow. The novelist is commendable for the theme she evokes, the feminist agenda. ThAt Long Silence points to the domination of the patriarchy on their mute, deaf and dumb counterpart, who are taught to bear everything on the way to a blissful heaven, by adjusting and digging their voices deep inside the...more

Read the book. Had a very difficult time completing it. It may help Shashi to remember Wordsworth's view that poetry 'is expression of powerful emotions, recollected in tranquility'. Whether a prose or poem, art needs tranquility. And it is such a heavy and powerful outpouring of emotions that there was no tranquility to refine it and turn the mundane into art.

Perhaps, it is the curse of late eighties that women felt more victimized than before. They accepted their fate at one time, rebelled ag...more
Jun 17, 2014 Anjani added it
i wanted to read this book
Shubhada Kale
A little depressing, but packed with wisdom. A must-read for every woman.
James Workman
Definitely read this book. Love cant be found in others until it is found in you. ( Or something like that. Cliché I know but that is what I took from it.)
May 03, 2013 Majnu added it
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Novelist and short story writer, Shashi Deshpande began her career with short stories and has by now authored nine short story collections, twelve novels and four books for children. Three of her novels have received awards, including the Sahitya Akademi award for `That Long Silence'. Some of her other novels are `The Dark Holds No Terrors', `A Matter of Time', `Small Remedies', `Moving On', `In T...more
More about Shashi Deshpande...
Small Remedies The Dark Holds No Terrors The Binding Vine A Matter of Time Roots and Shadows

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“Things can never be as they were. It's astonishing how we comment on change, as if change is something remarkable. On the contrary, not to change is unnatural, against nature.” 5 likes
“It's not just that life is cruel, but that in the very process of our birth we submit to life's cruelty” 3 likes
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