Our bookseller says…
“You wouldn’t think a book about women killing their abusive husbands would be funny, but I could not stop laughing while reading The Bandit Queens. The Bandit Queens isn’t one of those abuse stories that ends with the woman dead, having taken back none of her agency. It’s a revenge story and calls to all of us who’ve ever felt like we could kill someone who’s hurt our friend.
An astute examination of caste and gender in India, The Bandit Queens follows Geeta, whose abusive husband left her years ago, and a village of women who have had enough with being treated like shit. Geeta starts the book friendless and a pariah, with the village convinced she killed her husband. By the end of the novel, the body count has risen and Geeta has a real sisterhood. One quote about female friendship really stuck with me: “Why was I so busy protecting the copper I had with you, that I destroyed the gold I had with her?” The Bandit Queens focuses on community and turns the trope of the bored housewife on its head. Already my favorite book of the year, The Bandit Queens is as lovely as the joys of motherhood. So rewarding!
TW: abuse, rape
Geeta’s no-good husband disappeared five years ago. She didn’t kill him, but everyone thinks she did—no matter how much she protests.
But she soon discovers that being known as a “self-made” widow has some surprising perks. No one messes with her, no one threatens her, and no one tries to control (ahem, marry) her. It’s even been good for her business; no one wants to risk getting on her bad side by not buying her jewelry.
Freedom must look good on Geeta, because other women in the village have started asking for her help to get rid of their own no-good husbands…but not all of them are asking nicely.
Now that Geeta’s fearsome reputation has become a double-edged sword, she must decide how far to go to protect it, along with the life she’s built. Because even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry.
Insightful, irreverent, and poignant, Parini Shroff’s The Bandit Queens is an unforgettable novel full of dark humor and surprising heart.