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A Married Woman

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  691 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Astha has everything an educated, middle-class Delhi woman could ask for - a loving husband and affluent surroundings - and yet is consumed with a sense of dissatisfaction. She begins an extra-marital affair with a younger woman, the widow of a political activist and jeopardizes everything.
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  691 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Gorab Jain
My wife picked this and I followed in curious to know more about Married Woman :>

At the backdrop of Babri Masjid in 1992, the premise is set nicely. The character portrayal of Astha with her mental turmoils and lead up to her marriage was also great. Even the relationships were etched nicely.

Felt the promising start lost its momentum after around 50%. The latter part felt rushed up without much impact.

Overall liked it okay, and would love to explore other works of this author.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s famous “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History” has a point. History tends to ignore or undervalue those who are nameless and do the chores. In other words, let’s took about Socrates but give Xantippe a bad rep because, you know, for nagging about where the grocery money was coming from. Grocery money is so not important. In some ways, this is also true about books. We prefer to read novels with people doing things, discovering things, whacking things, screwing things. ...more
Bhargavi Balachandran
I remember a few bloggers reviewing Manju Kapur's books positively and had wanted to pick something up by her for the longest time. My library had a couple of books by her and for some strange reason I was attracted to this book.Guess it had something to do with the fact that I was intrigued by the storyline- about a relationship an older woman has with a younger one and wanted to see how the subject's been handled by an Indian writer.

Astha is a middle class woman ,who lives in Delhi with her hu
Cheshta Choudhury
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set during 1980-90's India (mainly Delhi ) the story follows Astha through almost 20 years, from high-school, college, to married life. She has lived a life of an average Indian woman- studying till she can, having a couple of love interests during those years and then marrying a total stranger on the recommendation of her parents. Her husband and his family are renowned people, have plenty of money & property and her husband loves her (or makes love to her frequently). Astha thinks she has achi ...more
Sep 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks, borrowed
It was pretty disappointing. I had expected more from Manju Kapur. Its the story of Astha an ordinary middle class girl who has an 'arranged marriage' and then comes to know life is not a bed of roses. A few stereotypical issues are dealt with, with great bias. I am fed up that there should be lesbian sex in any book which vouches for woman uplifting. Can't women seem hep and forward and in control of their lives, without being lesbians or free-from-the-bond of marriage. I feel Astha has treated ...more
May 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
A few months ago I had the privilege to meet this wonderful young girl who chose to be a missionary and help poor children in India. She told me about her trips and experiences there and I realized that to my shame I knew nothing about the reality of this large country. As a result of our meeting I became interested in knowing more and I found this book in my parents’ house in Romania about India and its spectacular economic boom. I am not sure it is the best book ever written about India but I ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this after having thoroughly enjoyed Kapu'rs latest, The Immigrant--a better, far superior novel. Still, I enjoyed A Married Woman, the story of what Kapur transmits as a tyical Indian 'middle class' (is there truly such a thing in India?!) woman, educated at the same Miranda House all-female college where Kapur herself was educated and has taught for years, from less than stellar circumstances: basically, an only child with apparently clueless parents whose need to marry her of ...more
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, however, it was a little sad. In 310 pages, you see Astha's life completely fall apart. She falls in love many times, but is disappointed in some way in all of them. The first one was just a crush, the second wasn't parent approved, the third lasted the longest but ultimately ended in unhappiness, and the fourth one wasn't necessarily society approved. Her relationship with Pipee was definitely the one filled with the most love, passion and desire, but because of wher ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third novel by this author I have read, and although quite readable, it is the one I liked least. Although I often felt sorry for Astha and came to dislike her husband, I just didn't come to care enough for the characters. It is a well written engrossing story - so I can't say I disliked it, it just left me a little cold. The majority of the book tells the story of Astha's marriage. Astha is dominated - to an extent - by her husband - she has more freedoms than many women - and in he ...more
Zen Cho
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Oyo! /o\ I took a relatively long time to finish this because I got so stressed about Astha's awful marriage. It was like the beginning of The Blue Castle where Valancy is having a hell of a time and you hate her family's guts because they are so horrible. At least Kapur had the kindness to end her book at the same time as Astha's relationship with Pip, rather than forcing us to live out Astha's long miserable life. I hope it gets better later. I hope she earns sufficient money from her painting ...more
Mar 11, 2012 rated it liked it
It's a nice book dealing with controversial issues in a very sensitive manner & exploring the hidden power play between a married couple in the Indian context. I had a major issue with the plot though... One does not suddenly realize that they are bi- sexual or attracted to the same sex... The book no where explores with the protagonist's history of this realization ( The protagonist is a married woman here). Same sex attraction does not develop because of lack of affection at your home front. O ...more
Anupama Sarkar
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
While reading ‘A Married Woman’, I was awestruck with Manju Kapoor's sensitivity in dealing with inner turmoils and conflicts of a woman. The emotions she feels while growing up – the first flush of romance, the first stare of an unwelcome man, the total surrender to her lover and the frustrations of a married woman, who has seen it all and her desperation to trade her well settled life for an adventurous ride. Manju has deftly voiced the varied phases of a woman’s life in this novel. An engross ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
was lovely to read.
an article i came across by the writer
Sue Corbett
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
More just an account of a woman’s life in India from her teenage years to her own teenager - how life changed in that time - her attitude to marriage, her husband, family and political and social education. Very slow, didn’t really go anywhere. Not sure what it was saying.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Realistic enough. Engaging enough to read cover to cover in a couple of days.
Divya Chawla
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book portrays the life of a "typical" indian marriage, and the pros and cons it brings with it. I was really disappointed with the ending.
Muniza Joo
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed this light and intriguing
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A good novel
Shanthy Rajan
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Brilliant book talks about the struggles of a women being a second fiddle as well as trying to fight for her independence.
Mayuri Nidigallu
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bold. Tender. Introspective.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well a book isn't good if it doesn't offends you. Amazing book throughly enjoyed it.
Savita Ramsumair

Whilst some serious issues were dealt with, I couldn't relate to what Ashes did. The style of writing was good. The story also brought some social issued to the forefront.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Boring and stereotyped!
Don't know why these silly writers think that becoming lesbian is a sign of empowerment!
Rubbish book, not worthy of time and money!
M.M. George
Jul 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Not my type of book. I don't like books that depict men as stereotypical caricatures. Sometimes women are victims of their own expectations. It's not always the man's fault alone.
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Astha was brought up properly, as befits a woman, with large supplements of fear.’

Astha is an obedient middle-class girl growing up in Delhi during the 1970s. Her father wants her educated; her mother wants her to be settled into a safe, arranged marriage. While Astha’s family is not wealthy, they have hopes for the future. While Astha meets some males herself, and has a little more experience that her mother realises, she eventually agrees to an arranged marriage. Hemant seems kind enough.

Amruta Joshi
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
It super one..
The Books deals with various aspects of woman's Life related to Love Relations.The central character of Book is Astha.It protray's Astha's relationship with each male love interest at very stage life.she lives the as per wish of her parents n husband lifestyle.she is very content in her marriage.over a period she feels neglected by her husband.It also beautifully captures the issue related babri masjid.Aijaz character's introduces her to this issued n secularism.untimely death of a
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
Just finished the book. It started off on a realistic tone -- a teenage middle-class Indian girl dreaming of getting married to any boy who looks at her with any interest; then life of a married Indian woman who's trying to do justice to her roles as a wife/mother/professional and is quite surprised when encounters admiration or disappointed at husband's lack of empathy for her interests; but then it goes on a tangent when she finds love in a new found girl friend. That part dragged on beyond a ...more
Jun 17, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book better now than when I read it ten years ago. I have read this writer's other novels- her theme centres on women and their conflicts.

The opening lines probably say it best:

'Astha was brought up properly as befits a woman, with large supplements if fear. One slip might find her alone, vulnerable and unprotected. The infinite eats in which she could be harmed were bit specified, but Astha absorbed them through her skin, and ever after was dream to the safe and secure.'
Rajnish Sharma
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it
A poignant story of a married woman stranded at the crossroads of love between her family and Girl friend.Both are two different word in the same universe..where collision of both may trigger of far reaching consequences, tormenting all the life involved.Astha A married Woman bit confused but finely etched character which keep vacillating for Her duty, her love and her ideology . Very rarely character is portrayed , entrapped in the web of her sexuality.
A must read For Married woman
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Manju Kapur is the author of four novels. Her first, Difficult Daughters, won the Commonwealth Prize for First Novels (Eurasia Section) and was a number one bestseller in India. Her second novel A Married Woman was called 'fluent and witty' in the Independent, while her third, Home, was described as 'glistening with detail and emotional acuity' in the Sunday Times. Her most recent novel, The Immig ...more

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