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When I Hit You, Or, A Portrait of the Writer As a Young Wife
When I Hit You, Or, A Portrait of the Writer As a Young Wife | Meena Kandasamy
Seduced by politics and poetry, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor and agrees to be his wife, but what for her is a contract of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealized version of a kept woman, bullying her out of her life as an academic and writer in the process, she attempts to push back--a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape. Smart, fierce and courageous, When I Hit You is a dissection of what love meant, means and will come to mean when trust is undermined by violence; a brilliant, throat-tightening feminist discourse on battered faces and bruised male egos; and a scathing portrait of traditional wedlock in modern India.
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nocto
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Pickpick

This was a tough read and even though it‘s quite a short book it took me a while to get through it. You know in the beginning that the narrator gets out of her abusive marriage in the end but that barely takes the edge off it. It shows very well how “why didn‘t you just leave him” is never as simple as it sounds like it should be.

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nocto
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November's #bookspin went pretty well, five books finished including the two selected ones, and the tagged one still in progress. That'll do me nicely, thank you.

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Bertha_Mason
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Jari-chan
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Pickpick

This is an important book, and one that needed to be written. It's not a pleasant book, as you might hsve guessed. Read it anyway! Face the reality of so many women and children (also men!) out there, suffering. It's aweful, therefore it must be faced and fought. By us all.

@TheAromaofBooks #BookSpinBingo

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 3y
24 likes1 comment
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readordierachel
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Pickpick

How to review this? How to dissect and have opinions on someone's pain poured out on the page. Though this is presented as a novel, it quickly became clear that this is largely autobiographical (I googled to confirm after I finished it).

This is the first-person narrative of a woman in an increasingly abusive marriage. The physical and emotional abuse are not shied away from, and may be quite triggering, but are also not dwelt on. Instead 👇🏼

readordierachel ...the book is more contemplative, dwelling in the narrator's inner life and then taking a wider view of how family, friends, authorities, and society as a whole handle such situations when they come to light. Kandasamy's wit and virtuosity with language (she is also a poet) make this very readable, but it is not an easy read by any means. 4y
Reggie I think maybe we‘re missing half of what you are saying? This is stacked already but poets who write books are my jam. Their language is almost always right on. 4y
Tanisha_A Brilliant review! It's on my list ❤️ 4y
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batsy Thoughtful review! I have this too but have yet to read, because I do anticipate it being a tough one (subject-wise). 4y
readordierachel @Reggie I like poets turned authors too! There were some really great passages in this. (Nothing more to the review than my one comment above. I ran out of thoughts at that point, lol) 4y
readordierachel @batsy It is def difficult subject matter. Certainly kept me from breezing through it. Thanks again for sending it. I'm glad to have read it ❤ 4y
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readordierachel
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Started this today while waiting to get lab work done. #currentlyreading

readordierachel (Thanks again @batsy 😊💜) 4y
vivastory This sounds interesting. Hope everything turns out okay! 4y
batsy Hope it's a good read and all is well 💜 4y
readordierachel @batsy Thanks 😊 4y
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Abailliekaras
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New episode of ‘Books on the Go‘ is up! 🎧 ‘When I Hit You ‘ -by @meenakandasamy - every bit as searing as they said; virtuosic - one of my books of the year. ❤️

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Abailliekaras
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Pickpick

Excellent. An account of a woman trapped in a violent marriage, told in stunning prose with honesty & strength. It reads as a fast-paved novel but feels true & autobiographical. Many confronting moments - eg her parents telling her to stay - & she has self-awareness & great insight into why women stay (or rather, why they can‘t leave). But it‘s also poetic & satirical - she mixes it up so it‘s not unrelenting violence. Shocking - but too common.

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AntoinetteBuchanan
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This is an autobiographical novel about domestic violence. A week ago I fell resulting in 22 stitches to my face, a very black eye and visible bruising to my chest and lower left arm. While shopping with my husband, several women serving in stores gave my husband hard looks and asked me about my injuries. I was grateful for their, misplaced, concern and several friends revealed their own experiences & how they would‘ve appreciated such concern...

AntoinetteBuchanan If you are worried about someone, please speak up - it could make all the difference 5y
MrsMalaprop I recall my mum having a similar experience after she fell over walking the dog. My dad took her to hospital & he got the third degree from staff. Mum was asked several times whether she wanted to talk in private. 5y
AntoinetteBuchanan @MrsMalaprop I‘m pleased to know she was offered assurance if she‘d needed it. My grandmother was not as fortunate and neither were some really quite young women of my acquaintance. 5y
Reggie I worked as a waiter with this friend of mine who had also accidentally gotten a black eye. In 2 days she got 3 cards, 1 for a women‘s shelter and 2 for counseling. It was intense. I had no idea that many people cared out there. 5y
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whatsthEStorey
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Pickpick

Abusers say the same things in every language. Meena is a young Indian writer who survives and escapes an incredibly abusive marriage. Beautifully and poetically written.

⚠️Major trigger warning for domestic and sexual violence.

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whatsthEStorey
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whatsthEStorey
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🙌🙌🙌

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mrozzz
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The conversation that I never have, but always rehearse within my head: I am a tough bitch, I can take it, I am happy you asked me if you could help. I did not deserve this sadness. I do not know if I deserve this love either.

🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Scurvygirl Yes! 6y
Reggie Wow. 6y
mrozzz A really tough read sometimes.... but the writing 🙌🏻 @Scurvygirl @Reggie 6y
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mrozzz

“Some men leave me with memories, a secret language, unfinished poems, frayed old T-shirts, half-told anecdotes... books defaced with dog-ears and underlinings, swear words, a taste for grunge singers, abandoned promises of holiday plans.

Some men leave me with a thousand kisses, but these kisses are contagious, and once I have caught them, it is a curse— they keep me awake, feverish, and I cannot sleep night after night after night.”

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mrozzz
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Pickpick

I'm unsure of my opinion on this, but I did enjoy it. Several quotes bowled me over w/ their intensity & poignant truths. Also a poet, Kandasamy has a firm grasp on crafting delightful & dark strings of words though as a whole I found it lacking a lot of concrete detail that would have made this a supreme work of fiction. It might have to do with the fact that this heartbreaking story of marital abuse and rape is an experience she actually lived.

MrBook Love your review! As always. ☺️ 6y
mrozzz Thanks so much 😊💕 @MrBook 6y
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lauralovesbooks1
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Pickpick

This was a rough read emotionally. It's a semi-autobiographical novel about an unnamed woman's experiences in an abusive marriage. Kandasamy leverages her skill as a poet -- writing beautifully about a brutal situation. The essay at the end by a reviewer is as strong and impactful as the novel. Highly recommend (with trigger warnings for all types of abuse)

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readordierachel
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Litsy, I've missed you! Feel like I've been treading water the last few weeks, trying not to let anxiety take me under. We all have our moments, right?

It was such a lovely, welcome, perfectly timed surprise to receive your package today @batsy! The Kandasamy is one of those books I added to my tbr and then promptly forgot about. I'm so excited to have a copy! The Carrington sounds great as well, and I love the postcard and bookmark. Thank you! ❤

saresmoore ♥️♥️♥️ 6y
LiteraryinLawrence 💜💜 6y
mcipher Hope you are feeling better. ❤️💜 6y
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Trashcanman I'm glad you're back, I've missed you. 6y
readordierachel @mcipher Thank you 💖 6y
readordierachel @Trashcanman Back at ya 💖🤗 6y
vivastory I love Leonora Carrington 6y
LeahBergen There you are! 😘 6y
mrozzz 👋🏻💗💗💗💗 6y
readordierachel @vivastory I've been really wanting to read Down Below. It sounds so interesting. Is there a specific one of hers you recommend? 6y
readordierachel @LeahBergen @mrozzz 👋🏼👋🏼😘😘 6y
vivastory Honestly I love all of her work. Her stories are great, I love her paintings too. 6y
batsy I've missed you! So glad the package arrived! Hope things settle down for you ❤️❤️ 6y
Addison_Reads Happy you're back. I always enjoy seeing your posts and comments. 😁💜 6y
readordierachel @batsy Thank you 🤗, and thanks again for the thoughtful gifts! 6y
readordierachel @Addison_Reads Thanks! And back at you 🤗💞 6y
readordierachel @vivastory I didn't realize she was an artist as well! Just looked up some of her stuff, and whoa! Super cool. 6y
RohitSawant Echoing everyone about missing you! Great to see you back! 💜 6y
readordierachel @rohit-sawant Thanks, friend! 🤗 6y
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dixi_e
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There is such brutal honesty in this book and I love it. This has me thinking of all the “why didn‘t she just leave him?” questions/attacks and the damaging reality of how hard it is for woman to do so.

CouronneDhiver Sad. I‘d much rather have genuine conversations 6y
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hfpotier
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Starting this tonight

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dixi_e
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Eager to start this one. I‘ve never read this author before but I feel as though she‘s someone I‘m going to admire. #currentlyreading

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SwecchaC
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Pickpick

Don‘t let people remove you from your own story. Be ruthless!!!

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 👍📚 6y
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Moray_Reads
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Pickpick

A powerful, heartbreaking, uncompromising, fierce story of abuse that examines the experience and the story without flinching. Kandasamy ruthlessly interrogates the attitudes towards violence against women from within and without, from her husband's self-justification to the world's judgements. And the wonderful writing i Sears right down to the bone. Don't miss the appended chapter 'A List of People You Should Give This Book To.'

charl08 She's a great speaker too - worth catching if you can. (Or haven't already!) 6y
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rmaclean4
Pickpick

Amazing writing. Difficult subject but powerfully written. I am excited to read more of her work.
4 🌟!!

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bookylady
Pickpick

What a powerfulbook and so well written. This is a story of an intelligent, feminist Indian writer/poet who becomes trapped in an abusive, violent marriage. To survive, she has to bury her beliefs, her personality, her past, her dreams and her desire to retaliate.The response of her family and friends is truly shocking but all too believable. Women suffer appalling domestic abuse while the world looks away

One of the best books I have ever read.

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rachelwill
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Pickpick

Book 16: There's fire in Meena Kandasamy. And there's passion is this heart wrenching story of a woman trapped in a violent and abusive marriage. It's a story of entrapment and self liberation. But one that navigates through true horror that too many women have to endure before they are able to be freed. A striking and powerful book.

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Twocougs
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Pickpick

Stunning, heart shattering, brave. To read a book so utterly beautiful about actions so cruel and controlling. Meena‘s honesty about her abusive husband and her ultimate survival is powerful. Read this book! (But do it when your emotions are strong).

A reading break at Mt.Rainier😍

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Jeg
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Pickpick

Wow!! A powerful read. Despite the topic the writing is very poetic. It was a book that flowed for me as far as the writing goes. I‘m guessing this has happened to her. So glad I read it even though I‘m still not too sure how I got it! 😊
Not surprised she is listed for prizes. @MrsMalaprop

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Jeg
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??????????? Do you ever get book mail and its a mystery? I can‘t remember ordering this book . Only thing I can think of is , I saw that it was short listed. However a mystery book. Has anyone reading this read it or heard of it? @MrsMalaprop

MrsMalaprop 😂 Not sure that‘s happened to me, but what a lovely surprise. If the Litsy reviews are anything to go by, it will be an excellent if harrowing read. 6y
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CaroPi
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Pickpick

This is a must read for every woman. Not that we will expect something like that (hopefully never) but to understand. To never judge a woman that has been a victim of violence. #feminism #violenceagainstwomen #womensprize #bookly

TheAnitaAlvarez This is up next in my TBR 6y
CaroPi @TheAnitaAlvarez it should! I also hope it wins the #womensprize this year 6y
TheAnitaAlvarez @CaroPi I‘m trying to get through the shortlist before the prize is announced! 🙈 6y
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Redheadrambles
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a tough read of that there is no doubt. The title is fierce and the writing while beautifully poetic and darkly humorous is also uncompromising and raw. It leaves you with a portrait of the lives of women in India which is frankly horrific.

This book seems to me the kind of work the Woman's Prize absolutely excels at promoting and without it's deserved shortlisting I probably would not have stumbled across it.

Redheadrambles #readharder2018 - Read a book set in a BRICS country 6y
ClairesReads Awesome- and read harder! 6y
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Redheadrambles
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This book is tough but there is some wonderful writing and imagery to be found here. Good choice for the Woman‘s Prize shortlist.

Neale That is brilliant! ❤️ If the rest of the book is written like that I‘m reading it. 6y
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andrew61
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Pickpick

This is an incredibly written book, combining poetic writing and poetry with horrible depictions of domestic abuse. There is a point 2 thirds in when the author talks abt marital rape & i despaired abt the way men treat women and the future for my daughters.But this is a strong woman who survives but is damaged and the afterword enhances the rd as we learn it's a novel based on fact. This is a powerful read but both depressing + uplifting, 5*

Tamra I‘m anxious to read this one! 6y
andrew61 @Tamra its a difficult read but not a misery memoir which makes it even more troubling - i hesitate to say i hope you enjoy the read but I'll be interested on your thoughts when you get to it. 6y
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andrew61
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On a day of royal wedding fever i am reading an incredibly written book about domestic violence and control of a woman by her husband which is on the women's prize shortlist - each chapter begins with a poem and they are similarly evocative.
The two books ive read from the shortlist so far have been 5* reads and this is similarly.

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tstan
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Pickpick

Shortlisted for the Women‘s Prize (formerly Bailey‘s, formerly Orange Prize) in Fiction. This is a novel, a fact I had to remind myself frequently while rooting for the narrator to get out of her abusive marriage. The writing style is simple, but deceptive- there is nothing simple in this family drama. Really well done. TRIGGER WARNINGS: all of them.

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Becker
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This is a very intimate, compelling and poetic read. I‘m very impressed with it.

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jhod
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Thanks @kezzlou85 for the tag!
Today I am going to dance round a mechanical spider with DJs inside it's head playing amazing tunes!
Don't think I've ever had a cake pop...
Two so far, tagged book was brilliant.
Sunshine!
Tag anyone late to the party like me!
@jesshowbooks
#friyayintro

TrishB Wow 😮 you have an interesting day coming up!! 6y
Cathythoughts Sounds fun ! 👍🏻 6y
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charl08
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Probably shouldn't be reading one of the prize rivals waiting for the start?

TrishB You‘re in Liverpool 👍🏻 6y
charl08 @TrishB Well spotted. 6y
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Notafraidofwords
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Pickpick

There are so many layers to this book about a writer whose recent marriage has turn violent. Every sentence is carved out so perfectly that it made the air inside of me disappear. Domestic violence can happen to anyone and anywhere and this poet explores how tiny one feels and how the politics of being a woman allows for such abuse. More importantly, I wish I could sit with the author and buy her coffee. To thank her for writing this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Notafraidofwords @BooksForEmpathy @mauveandrosysky I would love to see what you guys think of this book if you get around to reading it. 6y
Notafraidofwords TW: rape, violence. 6y
ScientistSam Wow, sounds powerful 6y
jhod I just finished. I thought the last few chapters were the most powerful - and where her writing shone most. A really important read, v pleased it made the women's fiction shortlist 6y
Notafraidofwords @jhod I definitely agree. In the middle, I couldn‘t quite figure out how she was going to bring it together. But, she did. When her dad basically tells her he has to leave ...ugh. My heart. I wanted to cry. 6y
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haileybean
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Pickpick

Hailey needs a hug.
I‘ve been stewing on this book for about an hour, and I‘m still thinking about how beautiful her prose is in juxtaposition with how horrible the events of the book are. This novel is stunning and heartbreaking, and elicited a HUGE emotional response from me which isn‘t hard, but it didn‘t feel like that was the cheap purpose.

Heideschrampf HUG! 🙆‍♀️ 6y
haileybean Thank you! @Heideschrampf 🙆‍♀️ 6y
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charl08
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Powerful stuff: "I am the woman...

AceOnRoam Very powerful! 6y
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charl08
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I climb into the incredible sadness of silence...

AceOnRoam Must be so sad this one. 6y
charl08 @AceOnRoam It is graphic and horrific but ultimately (for me) hopeful: escape is possible. 6y
AceOnRoam Strength to all women 💕 6y
28 likes3 comments
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charl08
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Will I be betrayed by these words I choose?

Redheadrambles Ah I really want to get into this one soon 6y
charl08 @Redheadrambles def worth your time! 6y
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haileybean
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This book is going to destroy me. For a short(ish) book it‘s taking me a while to read because I have to stop and take it in. The writing though, it‘s so beautiful and darkly funny.

Cinfhen 😥😥😥 6y
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charl08
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...would have slept with him had I not been underage and had he not been long dead."
Ha!

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charl08
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Book #11 in my reading of the Women's Fiction longlist www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk

TrishB That looks like a tough read! 6y
charl08 I think so. Early days though: some humour too. 6y
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Herschelian
Pickpick

I found this a sad depressing read. A highly educated young Indian woman marries Marxist University Professor, instead of the marriage of love she expects he immediately starts abusing her mentally and physically, cutting her off from the world, raping and beating her. She endures it for 4 months before finding the inner strength to leave him. Based on the authors own experience of the brutality women still suffer in modern India.

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haileybean
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#shelfie sort of 😂 I came home from work the other day to books on my floor and I was so confused. That wasn‘t where I left them! I need to go through and get rid of some that were just meh, or be honest and get rid of what I‘m never going to read. 🤷‍♀️ ooooops. Book tagged is current read.