Kamala Markandaya is an Indian novelist born in 1924 in Mysore, India. She attended Madras University, a prestigious school in India, and later moved to Britain. She is known primarily for her pieces that explore the clashing values of Eastern and Western societies.
One of Markandaya’s most acclaimed novels is entitled Nectar in a Sieve (1954). It tells the story of Rukmani, an Indian peasant woman who underwent an arranged marriage as a child to a tenant farmer. She works as a laborer on the field in the face of droughts, famine, and urban development. Throughout the novel, Rukmani endures seemingly endless setbacks and she believes that poverty will never cease to exist. Rukmani’s life is a moving battle of survival and protection of her loved ones.
Markandaya received great admiration and acclaim for Nectar in a Sieve. Kirkus Reviews describes it as “an affecting chronicle of life in a South Indian village told with simplicity and compelling wisdom.” It was picked as a Book of the Month Club Main Selection and later named as a Notable Book by the American Library Association in 1955.
After the publication of Markandaya’s first book, she released numerous other pieces, including Some Inner Fury (1955), A Silence of Desire (1960), Possession (1963), A Handful of Rice (1966), The Nowhere Man (1972), Two Virgins (1973), The Golden Honeycomb (1977), and Pleasure City (1982). She ultimately died of kidney failure on May 16, 2004.