The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff, published 03 January 2023.
This story of female friendship, sisterhood, found family, but also about the limitations women are still facing, would have deserved to advance to the Women’s Prize of Fiction Shortlist. Shame it didn’t.
Geeta’s village thinks she murdered her husband and fed his body to the dogs. Geeta knows it’s not true, but if the whole village wants to think she’s a murdering witch, she embraces the idea.
Since her drunkard of a husband left Geeta five years ago, she turned her luck and has never missed a payment for her small business loan. This success story attracts the attention of other women who would like to turn their fortune around by getting rid of their husbands too. So they ask Geeta to help them. Not all of them know how to ask nicely, though.
There is lots of dark humour in this story. Furthermore, behind that dark humour lie truths that need to be acknowledged and challenged. It’s a book that made me laugh out loud at the antics these women came up with, but also made me more aware of the culture and the situations they live in.
5/5 Harpy Eagles