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Nectar In A Sieve
 
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Kamala Markandaya
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Nectar In A Sieve

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  7,371 Ratings  ·  743 Reviews
This beautiful and eloquent story tells of a simple peasant woman in a primitive village in India whose whole life was a gallant and persistent battle to care for those she loved.

Married as a child bride to a tenant farmer she had never seen, she worked side by side in the field with her husband to wrest a living from land that was ravaged by droughts, monsoons, and insect
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Published (first published 1954)
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Laughter Kamala Markandaya didn't really write a chickflick. Nectar in a Sieve is rather a critique of colonialism and its structures and effect on the…moreKamala Markandaya didn't really write a chickflick. Nectar in a Sieve is rather a critique of colonialism and its structures and effect on the millions of India who had their lives drastically altered. It also examines relationships between women in a patriarchal society. It is a fantastic read but should not be taken as a chickflick. Thank you(less)
Michelle Cabatingan it is a very moving piece. i only have beautiful things to say. it showed me the world of women in very trying moments.
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Community Reviews

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Aditi
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”

----Leo Tolstoy


Kamala Purnaiya Taylor, a.k.a, Kamala Markandaya, the late Indian internationally bestselling author, had penned a terrific yet extremely honest tale of a woman's struggling yet endearing life right after India's independence in her book, Nectar in a Sieve which marks as a pioneering book in Indian literature, that outlines the importance of a woman's simplicity, her sacrifices, her unconditional love fo
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booklady
At its heart, Nectar in a Sieve is a story about suffering and our response to it. The protagonist is an aging Indian woman looking back over her long life and reflecting on her fate as well as her choices. Much that happened to her, she had no say in. She was a child bride of an arranged marriage. In some respects, Providence was kind to her; in many others cruel.

But it would spoil the book to tell Rukmani’s tale before you read it. You need to experience it through her own sparse prose narrati
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Oh, man, talk about grimsville!! I think I'll just run along now and lay my head on that old railroad track!

These characters are just born to suffer and endure and work their tails off and all for what? Nothing, because they get screwed every time they start to get some hope back. Screwed either by Mother Nature or by their fellow human beings. Imagine seeing your child die from starvation and feeling relieved because you won't have to watch him suffer anymore!

Grimmest of all is that there are
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Michelle
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and touching, Nectar in a Sieve follows a young Rukmani who is married to Nathan, a tenant farmer, when she is only twelve. The marriage, of course, is arranged. The story focuses on the growth of her family and the struggles a tenant farmer and his family must face in a developing India.

I had one minor issue with this book...that is that there wasn't more.

The story should be depressing because the family has to scrape by to survive. And I mean really scrape by...with very little extr
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John Wiswell
Sep 19, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anti-colonial/capital readers
A tale of utter hopelessness in the face of colonial or capital evil. The only inspiration one could draw from this is to hate to hate economic development, hate outsiders, or become determined to not be like these people, who can't or won't do anything to prevent ruin. Unfortunately in this desperation there is also little sense of love or bonding, such that the reader can only understand that it is terrible for people to be torn apart or turned against each other, rather than feel it as they r ...more
Ashwini Ragunathan
One should go over the epigraph "Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, And hope without an object cannot live". Each page in this book depicts the sufferings faced by a family (let's say a group of people, a village or surrounding as a whole). Each character in this book suffers a lot. One would have guessed it from the title. The story evolves around Rukmani. Rukmani is portrayed as a simple traditional Indian woman. Nathan, Rukmani's husband is a farmer. The age-old ethics followed by Ind ...more
Amanda
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: Justin Nichols. He likes the language.
Shelves: 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A Don
Mar 24, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading the novel, Nectar in a Sieve written by Kamala Markandaya. The author, born in the highest caste in India but lived mainly in England, writes about the tale of a family's struggles with poverty and globalization. Being Markandaya's first published novel, Nectar in a Sieve is a worldwide best-seller and has been translated into seventy languages. Markandaya takes us to rural India set in mid-1900's, with the reflection of main character, Rukumani, taking the reader fr ...more
Marquette
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was basically the diary of the main character, Rukmani. From the get go the emotions were raw and real. This is a very realistic story that follows the life of Rukmani and her struggles throughout it. Anyone who likes autobiographies would enjoy reading this book.
Laura Harrison
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was required reading for me in high school. I just adored it. So well written, powerful and emotional. It is still one of my favorite books after all these years. I consider it a must read.
Rachael
The back cover honestly doesn't do it justice. It was soooooooo good!
Sookie
Nectar in a sieve isn't a story but collection of memories of days past and present. Set in a village in southern India, this is story of a woman and the hardships she faces with her family when the country is in the brink of industrialization and stepping out of decades of colonialism. Markandaya times the novel in this time of change in a community that solely thrives on outcome of monsoon season. The dichotomy isn't played to its strength with narration never taking into the contrasting natur ...more
Sonali
Mar 14, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens
Recommended to Sonali by: World Lit Reading Requirement
Shelves: world-lit
Death, theft, prostitution and tenant farming. How could these elements be woven into a tale that inspires, evokes sadness, and creates pathos? Only one tale, spun so well, could this be made possible; that book is Nectar in a Sieve. Kamala Markandaya, authoress extraordinaire, can create emotions no one knew they could feel for written text and hardback cover. Markandaya lived no hard life herself, so the way she weaves a tale with such authority, such knowledge, and such passion about a family ...more
Brooke
Mar 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nectar in a Sieve, written by Kamala Markandaya, is a wonderful novel that lets the reader peek inside the heart of Indian culture. Markandaya, the author of A Handful of Rice and
Some Inner Fury, is actually named Kamala Purnaiya Taylor; she was raised in Mysore, India but she later moved to Britain after India declared its independence. Nectar in a Sieve follows the life of an average lower-class Indian, looking at the effects of globalization and the conflict between traditional and rural Ind
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Bryan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be beautifully written, with characters that were believable and admirable. I always appreciate the opportunity to see life from the honest viewpoint of another culture. This book was a firm reminder of how impossibly difficult life is for so many people.
Preeti Gupta
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book I have ever read, hands down, and I have read many 1000s of books. I have no connection to this author whatsoever, I just happened to love her writing. I also read Handful of Rice, which was also very good, but this one was the best!
Sam
Mar 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really disliked this book.
Shiloah
A beautiful and painful book. I truly feel it is important to walk in another's shoes for a little while, and what a better way to do that than in a book? I do not think or react in the way the protagonist does, and I learned much from the book. I also was that much more grateful for my life and for the natural quest in me to do something "else"---something different---something more. By book two, I was so grateful to see her do this too, though on a smaller scale. Definitely a classic...a class ...more
Ryan
readingformysanity.blogspot.com


Set in rural India at the dawning of a new age, Kamala Markandaya's Nectar in a Sieve tells the story of one woman's quest for happiness and peace amidst heartache and hardship. Despite attempts to ignore comparisons, one is indelibly reminded of Pearl S. Buck's classic The Good Earth. The heroine, Rukmani, is a sort of female Wang Lung, who narrates the rise and fall of her family as India grows and changes around them.

The story begins with Rukmani remembering her
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Erik
Oct 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I originally had no idea what this book was about before reading it, so I had zero expectation aside from the line on the cover saying, "very moving." After 50 pages, I still was not quite sure; I gathered it follows a struggling Indian family during British colonization. To be more specific, it seemed a routine of raising crops and keeping a family together while also trying to do the best for your children's futures (proper weddings and dowries, for example).

But as the book continues, the pur
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Anushree Thareja
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'To those who live by the land there must always come times of hardship, of fear, and of hunger, even as there are years of plenty..... We live by our labours from one harvest to the next, there is no certain telling whether we shall be able to feed ourselves and our children, and if bad times are prolonged we know we must see the weak surrender their lives, and this fact, too is within our experience. In our lives there is no margin for misfortune.'

Nectar in a Sieve portrays a poignant picture
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Kike Ramos
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Español / English

En esta historia seguimos a Rukmami, una chica de la India que se casa a los 12 años, y la acompañamos hasta su edad adulta casi entrando a la madurez. Vemos como se enfrenta a los retos de criar hijos, lidiar con vecinas y, sobre todo, sobrevivir como una campesina rural ante la modernización del pueblo mas cercano.

Como la mayoria de los libros que escojo de la biblioteca tan solo porque el título me llama la atención y la sinopsis no suena mal, este me encantó. Una novela que
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Laura Palmer
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nectar In a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya

Kamala Markandaya really brings to life the struggles of life in a small village in India. Published in 1954, Nectar In a Sieve really elaborates on the daily life of an Indian woman.

In Nectar In a Sieve, the main character, Rukmani marries a tenant farmer, Nathan. The book follows their life together as a married couple. Rukmani and Nathan soon start a family and as the family grows, there are many challenges the family must overcome; poverty, drought, and
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Ian C
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-reading
I recently concluded my reading of Kamala Markandaya's Nectar in a Sieve. Markandaya has written many books such as Two Virgins, Shalimar, and The Nowhere Man. Nectar in a Sieve tells the tale of a woman who is married to an Indian man at a very young age, and of their life together as she matures.
One thing I found very intriguing about Nectar in a Sieve was the insight into Indian culture. It was thrown in almost casually, as if common. In fact, that is what made it stand out to me. It was as
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Vatsala
4.5 Stars.

Some books are going stay forever with us. This is one of such books. The story of Rukmani and Nathan. A tale of endurance and poverty. Apart from Rukmani and Nathan - well formed characters like Ira and Kenny are so realistic that in the end one will start missing reading about them and how they fared. I especially missed reading more about Kenny and Selvam and their hospital.

In my view this book should be recommended to be studied as part of syllabus for schools in India, to make ch
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Priscilla Herrington
Kamala Markandaya wrote Nectar in a Sieve in 1954; the Signet Classic edition was printed in 2002 with a forward by Indira Ganesan. Ganesan considers the book "a seminal work in Anglo-Indian fiction."

Rukmani is Markandaya's narrator and heroine. Although neither beautiful nor wealthy, Rukmani is married to a man whose love for her remains constant. This is a true blessing, as Rukmani and her husband, Nathan, suffer poor harvests and other misfortunes, eventually losing everything. Even their bea
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Jan Priddy
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in poverty, hope, India
NECTAR IN A SIEVE by Kamala Markandaya (1954) is a classic story of life in India in the last century. I think I must have been 13 or 14 when I first checked out this book from my school library. This most recent reading is only my second, but I was astounded at how much I recall from that long-ago reading and at how much I still love this novel. Some books can truly be said to change a life, and this is one of the ones to change mine. Markandaya opened my eyes to a life completely foreign and s ...more
Edaj Augusto
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kamala Markandaya painted me a portrait of how Indian women lived in the midst of early arranged marriages, in a changing capitalist India, the poverty that afflicted the land, the illiteracy, the religious superstition and other issues that continue to ring true today in modern India. The heroine's plight isn't her story alone, but the story of the Indian masses. Rukmani was the face of every Indian woman to me. Her strength, her response to each trial and suffering in spite of her limited know ...more
Lisa
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language and prose in this book was lyrical and the story was concise with strong themes. Both are strong reasons to recommend it. But then there is this other reason that is hard to put to words. It was intensely sad, but not depressing. For some reason I did feel hope at the end, even though it is hard for me to understand why. The only reason I can figure is the main character. She is one that pushes through and figures out how to hold onto herself amidst the terrible cruelty of life. She ...more
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Pseudonym used by Kamala Purnaiya Taylor, an Indian novelist and journalist. A native of Mysore, India, Markandaya was a graduate of Madras University, and afterwards published several short stories in Indian newspapers. After India declared its independence, Markandaya moved to Britain, though she still labeled herself an Indian expatriate long afterwards.

Known for writing about culture clash bet
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“For where shall a man turn who has no money? Where can he go? Wide, wide world, but as narrow as the coins in your hand. Like a tethered goat, so far and no farther. Only money can make the rope stretch, only money.” 11 likes
“To those who live by the land there must always come times of hardship, of fear and of hunger, even as there are years of plenty. This is one of the truths of our existence as those who live by the land know: that sometimes we eat and sometimes we starve. We live by our labours fromone harvest to the next, there is no certain telling whether we shall be able to feed ourselves and our children, and if bad times are prolonged we know we must see the weak surrender their lives and this fact, too, is within our experience. In our lives there is no margin for misfortune.” 9 likes
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