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Shashi Deshpande Biography

(1938– ), The Legacy, The Dark Holds no Terrors, Roots and Shadows, That Long Silence

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Indian novelist, born in Dharwar, North Karnataka, India, educated at Bangalore University. Both her first collection of short stories, The Legacy (1978), and her highly praised novel, The Dark Holds no Terrors (1980), signalled the arrival of an important new feminist voice in Indian fiction; through a network of familial relationships, and above all men and women, Deshpande explores contemporary India and illustrates the complex adjustments and social changes of the 1980s. Her honest treatment of sexuality, gender, and generational conflicts is evident in Roots and Shadows (1983); its intelligent, mature narrator, the journalist Indu, is a more independent, less tortured example of the modern urbanized Indian woman than some of Deshpande's other protagonists. In Deshpande's vision, liberation for the Indian woman is circumscribed by boundaries of class, social position, and marital status. Arguably her most accomplished novel, That Long Silence (1988) combines acerbic realism with subjective exploration, political awareness with Hindu philosophy. Deshpande has also written fiction for children, and two detective novels, If I Die Today (1982) and Come Up and Be Dead (1983).

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