A Kitchen in the Corner of the House


Translated from by

Published: Coming September 2019


This item will be released on September 17, 2019.

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Book Description

A Kitchen in the Corner of the House collects twenty-five gem-like stories from the innovative and perceptive Tamil writer Ambai.

Ambai’s narrators are daring and courageous, stretching and reinventing their homes, marriages, and worlds. With each story, her expansive voice confronts the construction of gender in Tamil literature. Piecing together letters, journal entries, and notes, Ambai weaves themes of both self-liberation and confinement into her writing. Her transfixing stories often meditate on motherhood, sexuality, and the liberating, in turn inhibiting, contours of the body.

In one story, a young girl is frozen in terror, waiting to tell mother that she’s just gotten her period. She thinks, “I need my mother. My heart yearns for her…” Fueled by such longing, each of Ambai’s characters seek a freer form of language and expression in Tamil. In another, a yellow fish flits into the ocean with an arrogant snort – at one moment on the brink of death and in the next, freely merging with the ocean’s blue-grey depths.

Ambai's stories explore the nuances of personal relationships, complex networks of emotions, and mingle themselves insightfully.

The Telegraph

Ambai's stories...are boldly experimental, pointing to the real source of the best Indian fiction in the vernacular languages. She makes use of polyphiny, fragmentation and multiple persepctives, and her translator succeeds in capturing her technical virtuosity.

Times Literary Supplement

Ambai brings to bear upon her tales the weight of her knowledge of the mythic, literary and Puranic...A felicity of language and the easy flow of words make the translation a pleasure to read.

The Hindu

Ambai excels in making physical movements parallel the progression in her stories...Lakshmi Holmstrom has been able to settle down so comfortably with the psyche of Ambai, that her translations of the latter's Tamil writings have the easy flow of the original.

Deccan Herald