About this book
An ambitious novel of both epic and intimate proportions as Jindal moves seamlessly between domestic family scenes, the passion of an illicit love affair and the instability of political parties vying for power at any cost. The fast-paced, plot-driven drama unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of India in the 1990s. The writing is accomplished, the story is thrilling with a bombshell of an ending.
About the author
Kavita A. Jindal is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in anthologies and literary journals worldwide and been broadcast on BBC Radio. She is the author of two poetry books: Patina and Raincheck Renewed. She is the co-founder of The Whole Kahani writers’ collective. Manual for a Decent Life was the 2018 winner of the Brighthorse Prize for the Novel.
This stunning crisply paced novel reveals its interwoven themes and storylines in social-realistic style. Manual For a Decent Life is excitingly ambitious, exploring dilemmas around politics, gender and sex at a fascinating moment in Indian history.– Michele Roberts, author of the Booker-Prize-shortlisted Daughters of the House.
The rapid pace of the plot makes for edge-of-seat excitement. – Saleem Peeradina, author of Heart’s Beast:New and Selected Poems.
A compelling novel that is impossible to put down.– Manju Kapur, author of Difficult Daughters.
A heart-searching novel with a wide sweep. Its themes of Indian family, female identity and power struggles are of contemporary significance. – Russell Celyn Jones, author of The Ninth Wave.
The book drips with symbolism and portent. The expectation of tragedy builds from the outset with the presence of a single magpie, for what bird better heralds evil?
– The Book Review. Read the full review: https://www.thebookreviewindia.org/decent-life-gets-its-manual/
It is a fascinating love story set in the political turmoil of that time, an account of how people adapt themselves to these shifts of power and values, as it raises important questions about the independence of women and the choices that they make in that society. – Jennifer Wong
An authentic book that needed to be written… This world we see; restrictive and conservative, then glamorous and modern, makes the book unique. – Mona Dash
I was particularly fond of, and impressed by, the wider set of characters each playing their parts in the overarching narrative. Waheeda’s friends and family feel very real. We are forced to contemplate the extent to which we are all prepared to risk not only our careers and social standing, but our family and friends simply to fulfil desire.– Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone
Maybe I have led too sheltered a life, but I have to admit I was taken aback by some of the sex scenes in the book.– Eastern Eye
A riveting book. The kind you’d read in one sitting, if only you didn’t want to pause and reflect over the depth of the situations hidden behind the almost simple prose. The kind of book you want to re-read, immediately after turning the last page.– Reader Review
A masterly account of one woman’s lone battle – (albeit aided and abetted patronizingly) to get elected. Woven into it are hauntingly lovely descriptions of the finer and grimmer versions of day to day life. – Reader Review
Manual For A Decent Life is filled with energy and sensuality, and Jindal serves a satisfying feast for the adventurous reader. – Gabrielle Barnby