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Ladies Coupé

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  4,879 ratings  ·  387 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 fo…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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Jul 21, 2015 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
Nov 01, 2007 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.
Prerna Gupta
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
Irene Daguno
Sep 08, 2007 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
Kabir Kaur
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ladies Coupe is about Akhilandeshwari, who’s been leading a spinster‘s life and has just turned 45 years old. She is now at the crossroads of her life, realising the lost prerogative of leading a normal life. Akhila was a radiant young girl who grew into a stubborn, resilient & organised woman, who likes her saree well starched and eats eggs, who ceded the love of her life and has lived her life under the fetters of a traditional Tamil-Brahman household abiding by all the social norms she is exp ...more
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 26, 2008 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
Amina Thajudeen
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book for the first time when I was studying in school. I borrowed a translated edition of Ladies coupe from a local library. This was the first book, I ever read by the author. Since then, I became a follower of Anita Nair's works.

I have seen many reviews stating that there is nothing special about this story. Maybe many readers are not impressed by her writing style. But I liked it from the first line I ever read from this book.

I liked the way she narrated a story and I never think
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I find rating books in stars a little difficult these days. Probably because I don't have a clearly etched benchmark of what a 5-star rated book should be like. It happened that way with this book. Parts of this book were brilliant, especially the initial 150 pages or so. It begins with Akhilandeswari, a 45-year-old, single woman who works as an income tax clerk, buys a one-way ticket to Kanyakumari. When she steps into the Coupé ( this Coupé thing itself sounds so romantic and beautifully ficti ...more
Jul 12, 2011 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
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
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such Simple Yet Beautiful Story Telling : 4/5

Ladies Coupe is a story of six women travelling together in a Ladies Coupe of an Indian railway train. Every women has a story to share, and Akhila, who is seeking the answer for "Can women lead a life without men" reaches a conclusion after hearing out other 5 women stories and weighing her own life story.
Anita Nair successfully creates an emotional connect with the readers and smoothly glides through stories. The book is rather a quick read, but has
Nov 28, 2007 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 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! :)
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indi, life, intense, recipes
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
May 04, 2014 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
Brown Girl Reading
Feb 16, 2014 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
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I was hooked onto this one after just a few pages. Not because the writing itself was great or the plot was really inviting, but mainly because for the first time in a long time I could actually relate to the protagonist; not in the sense that I went through the same experiences as Akhila, but the author drew out the joys and sorrows of the characters and extended them to the reader in a way that not just makes you see, but also understand.

The story is about Akhila, someone who is at a crossroad
Deepu George
May 02, 2014 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 16, 2007 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 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
May 31, 2008 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.
Moushine Zahr
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third novel I've read from Indian author Anita Nair and this one is the best rated. I first learned about this book in a French tourism guide on India in 2013, but I only bought the book in 2019 and the wait was worth it.

By coincidence, this is also the second novel by an Indian female author set on a train in India. However, from the first page, I saw the striking difference between the above title and Reaching Bombay Central. Anita Nair is by far a much better author.

During a nigh
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 11, 2016 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
Jul 10, 2011 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
Krutika Puranik
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
{ Book Recommendation } - Ladies Coupé.
"What is it about marriage that makes it possible for a man and a woman to mesh their lives, dreams and even their thoughts in such a complete fashion?" - Anita Nair.
What a glorious book! I believe it's safe to say that Anita Nair is the Queen of nailing the essence of feminism in her books. Ladies Coupé blew my mind and it feels like a warm blanket has enclosed my entire being. This particular read has left me with so many questions and thoughts about my
Just another reader
“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
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: anita-nair
On a train women complete strangers start telling their life stories, trying to define their own reality. They need to justify their failures seeking similarities in their unhappiness, they need to feel less guilty for who they became.

During the course of a short nap one afternoon in September, a week after her fortieth birthday, it occurred to Prabha Devi that she had forgotten the sound of her own voice. What do I sound like? Is my voice shrill or harsh? Does it pitch low or high? Does it floa
Vrushti Mehta
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What if a lady is single and independent at 45? Will the society accept her or taunt her? Should she get married? Well here we see Akhila who works hard for her family from her teenage after the demise of her father. She has a friend whose father passed away few days after her father's demise and being illiterate and having 3 more young sisters to be fed, she is forced to be a sex worker. Akhila is shown as a strong women who took up all the burden on her shoulders for her siblings future but sh ...more
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Anita Nair is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of the novels The Better Man, Ladies Coupé, Mistress, Lessons in Forgetting, Idris: Keeper of the Light and Alphabet Soup for Lovers. She has also authored a crime series featuring Inspector Gowda.

Anita Nair’s other books include a collection of poems titled Malabar Mind, a collection of essays titled Goodnight & God Bless and six books

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