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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya. Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya.
Married as a child bride to a tenant farmer she never met, Rukmani works side by side in the field with her husband to wrest a living from a land ravaged by droughts, monsoons, and insects. With remarkable fortitude and courage, she meets changing times and fights poverty and disaster. This beautiful and eloquent story tells of a simple peasant woman in a primitive village Married as a child bride to a tenant farmer she never met, Rukmani works side by side in the field with her husband to wrest a living from a land ravaged by droughts, monsoons, and insects.
This beautiful and eloquent story tells of a simple peasant woman in a primitive village in India whose whole life is a gallant and persistent battle to care for those she loves—an unforgettable novel that "will wring your heart out" The Associated Press. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published by Signet first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Nectar in a Sieve , please sign up.
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 million …more 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 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. See 2 questions about Nectar in a Sieve…. Lists with This Book.
Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Nectar in a Sieve. Mar 16, Jim Fonseca rated it really liked it Shelves: indian-authors , india , rural-poverty. The hardship of life in rural India written in As I read it I wondered how much things have changed in those 65 years? But she does marry, not to a farmer who owns land, but to one who rents land.
There is no way out, so that means they are condemned to a life of poverty living in a two-room thatch and mud hut. But even one of those rooms is mainly used for storage of the rice and corn that they grow. They are always at the mercy of nature: floods, droughts, insects, wind storms. So long as you are vigilant and walk warily with thought and care, so long will it give you its aid; but look away for an instant, be heedless or forgetful, and it has you by the throat.
During these times their daughter turns to prostitution to get money to buy food for a dying younger brother. A brother is killed by guards while breaking in to rob a factory. Two themes in the story portend change. This totally rural area is experiencing some growth due to the construction of a tannery. It brings outside money - and outsiders — into the area. The other is that the main character becomes friends with a British doctor who returns on and off to the area, eventually building a clinic.
Another consistent theme through the story was the love that the couple had for each other that sustained them through all these hardships. They sell all their possessions and journey several days to find a son to take them in.
The son has disappeared. They are robbed and then end up living as beggars in the temple and breaking rocks for pennies. The husband dies and the mother goes back to her daughter. It is simple but eloquent writing, fitting the topic. She married an Englishman and moved to England.
Photo of Indian peasants, , from 2. View all 21 comments. Synopsis: 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 insects. With remarkable fortitude and courage, she sought to meet changing times and fight poverty and disaster.
She saw one of her infants die from starvation, her daughter become a prostitute, and her sons leave the land for jobs which she distrusted. And somehow, she survived Rukmani, a very young girl, is married off to a simple peasant, Nathan, from a village miles and miles away from the village where she was born, by her father, who is a reputed village headman.
Rukmani who came from a modest and affluent lifestyle is expected to follow with her newly married husband to his village and into his simple world with limited means. Rukmani soon adjusts and adapts with her new lifestyle as a village farmer's wife, by helping her husband in sowing the rice seeds, watering and other necessary farming activities while handling and managing the household singlehandedly. Unfortunately as time passes by, Rukmani is left childless as she is expected to give birth to a handful of sons who will finally help in the farming business alongside with her husband.
As a result, Rukmani consults a Western doctor, Kenny, with modern world ideals, who finally helps her to give birth to a daughter and four sons. Despite the increase of so many feeding mouths, Nathan and Rukmani somehow manages to feed their sons and daughter, give a fulfilling life, even they are challenged all the way with poverty, drought and flood, sacrifice their farm and fight lots of battles, and through out the whole journey, Rukmani stands tall and strong shoulder-to-shoulder with her husband until the very end.
There are so many stories that highlight an India's life right after the independence but only a few stand out, just like, Nectar in a Sieve is one such ground breaking classic Indian literature that brings out the basic and simple life of a farmer somewhere rural in South India. Centralizing poverty as the main theme of the book, the author had depicted the life of a village woman despite whose sadness knew no limit, she had a fulfilling and satisfying family life with limited happiness and extreme challenges all through out her way.
The author has made her readers feel nostalgia through the pages of this compelling yet heart touching story of a woman as a little girl, as a daughter, as a wife, as a mother and as a friend as she survives her life alongside her husband and children. The author has captured the backdrop of a post-Independent India strikingly as she gracefully painted the rough and brown yet dull landscape of an Indian village, lush with rice paddy fields and the blooming flora here and there, the dust from the red stone roads, the grayish river, the hard cracked soil, the mud huts, the narrow-minded and illiterate village folks, the superstitions, the child's cry, the staple food, and the sweat of the hard working villagers.
Each and every details about the background image will let the readers to time travel back and forth from that era to the modern times and that will force them to reflect back on the changes. The author had also highlighted the socio political, cultural norms and beliefs followed back in that era which is in a stark contrast to present day's rules and beliefs. The author's writing style is extremely significant rich with emotions and wisdom embedded deep into the core of the story line.
The readers, be them international or Indian, will find the book easy to comprehend with even the story is written by the author is a very simple and easy to understand English language.
The narrative is heartfelt and articulate and the readers will find losing themselves into the sad undertone of the character's voices. The pace if the book is swift and moderate even the story is rich with so many evocative descriptions that will help the readers to not only feel the story but also to visually imagine the scenes right before their eyes. The characters reflect the hardships toiled by the Indian farmers and their family through their honest and realistic demeanor strikingly.
The main character of Rukmani is pleasingly portrayed that the Indian readers can easily contemplated with her plain looks, not so sharp wit, an enduring and patient woman, a hard working mother, a loyal and devoted wife and an obedient daughter.
Rukmani infers poignancy and sympathy through her painful journey of life in India, how motherhood and marital life changes the life of this once innocent and sweet little girl is equally heart breaking yet enlightening enough to keep the readers glued to the pages of this book till the very end. In a nutshell, this is a must read Indian book that every Indian readers must not only possess in their bookshelves but must also possess in the very deep of their souls.
Verdict: Satisfying and poignant till the very end. View all 9 comments. Nov 24, Jeanette Again rated it liked it Shelves: indian-subcontinent-and-surrounding , classics , all-fiction. 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!
Nectar in a Sieve Reader’s Guide
It is the poignant story of a large poverty-stricken Hindu family in a remote rural village in southern India. The story is told in the first person by Rukmani, beginning with her arranged marriage at age twelve to tenant farmer Nathan. Rukmani and Nathan love each other and their marriage begins in relative peace and prosperity; however, a large tannery is built in the neighboring village and begins insidiously destroying their lives. As the tannery grows larger and more prosperous, Rukmani and Nathan struggle to feed their children and to pay the rent on the land that gives them life. Although matters continue to worsen, they quietly persevere through ever-increasing hardships—flood, famine, even death—and cling to their hopes for a better future. Kamala Markandaya was born in in Mysore, in southern India. Between and , she worked as a journalist and published short stories in Indian newspapers.
Nectar in a Sieve
Nectar in a Sieve is a novel by Kamala Markandaya. The book is set in India during a period of intense urban development and is the chronicle of the marriage between Rukmani, youngest daughter of a village headman, and Nathan, a tenant farmer. The story is told in the first person by Rukmani, beginning from her arranged marriage to Nathan at the age of 12 to his death many years later. An excerpt from the poem is the epigraph of the novel:. In the novel, Rukmani comments, "Change I had known before, and it had been gradual. But the change that now came into my life, into all our lives, blasting its way into our village, seemed wrought in the twinkling of an eye.