Monday, July 18th: Historical Fiction. Shobha Rao reads from her new book, An Unrestored Woman. 7pm.
A young woman in a crushingly loveless marriage seizes freedom in the only way left to her; a mother is forced to confront a chilling and unforgiveable crime she committed out of love; an ambitious servant seduces both master and mistress; a young prostitute quietly and inexorably plots revenge on the madam who holds her hostage; and a husband and wife must forgive each other for the death of their child. Each of the twelve paired stories in Shobha Rao's An Unrestored Woman (Flatiron Books, March 15, 2016, $24.99) traces its origins to 1947 when Partition established Pakistan and India as sovereign states, causing the largest peacetime migration in human history. This mass displacement echoes throughout Rao's stories, which range across the twentieth century, moving beyond the subcontinent to Europe and America. Caught in extreme states of tension, in a world of shifting borders and instability, Rao's characters must rely on their own wits.
Shobha Rao moved to the U.S. from India at the age of seven. She is the winner of the 2014 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, awarded by Nimrod International Journal. She has been a resident at Hedgebrook and is the recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation fellowship. Her story "Kavitha and Mustafa" was chosen by T.C. Boyle for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories 2015. She lives in San Francisco.