Art & Culture

These novels explain why women are still angry

Kaveree Bamzai
Kaveree BamzaiApr 06, 2018 | 10:27

These novels explain why women are still angry

So we know about the angry girl trope from Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn's remarkable novel of a golden marriage gone wrong was just a little ahead of the curve.

#MeToo and #TimesUp was right around the corner. But now the rage is everywhere – in cinema, television and entertainment. Women are furious and they want you to know, from Handmaid's Tale to Big Little Lies, that they won't take it anymore.


Three new books, each vastly different from the other, captures the zeitgeist accurately and entertainingly. In Leila Slimani's Lullaby, a perfect nanny seems only too happy to provide comfort and care to a Parisian couple and their two little children.


The widow, Louise, is calm, clean, charming with the children and a handy cook. She takes over the couple's lives until the anger seething inside her, of being overlooked, of being an outsider, or being un-needed, boils over. There is revenge and it destroys lives. Forever.

In Emma Glass's brave and unvarnished Peach, revenge is a dish best served hot. Without giving away too much of this slim but riveting novel, one can say a young woman gets raped brutally and can never quite recover from it, much as she tries. Stalked, subjected to constant surveillance, or counselling, she rebels and finds her own way of coping.

The writing is spare, Glass' heroine is supremely collected given the circumstances and parents who spend all their time engaged with each other and their new baby. I have yet to read such a gut-wrenchingly description of the aftermath of rape, and indeed its eventual fallout.



As for Deepanjana Pal's tautly written thriller, Hush A Bye Baby: The Cradle Will Fall, which I hope will launch the first of a series starring my already favourite geeky policewoman Reshma Gabuji, it is quite ingenuous. There is a woman doctor, much feted, much respected, who seems to be conducting sex selection tests and aborting babies if they turn out to be female.

For a woman who champions women's rights, it is a particularly terrible violation, and sure enough she is arrested on the complaint of one of the women she treated –rich south Mumbai types. But nothing is as it seems in this brittle world of police commissioners being golfing buddies with one of the city's most corrupt real estate tycoons. There is a rape, a cover up, a suicide and consequences which explain quite a twist in the tale.

Is Nandita Rai a monster or is she a saviour? Is Reshma Gabuji, the occasional wearing droll detective who is more comfortable analysing spreadsheets than interviewing suspects, correct in her intuition? We know soon enough but the simmering anger she uncovers is a joy to behold – there is nothing more magnificent than the well-earned wrath of a few good women. 


If anyone still has doubts about why women are angry, read these books quickly.

Last updated: April 06, 2018 | 10:27
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