The Thousand Faces of Night

“Githa Hariharan’s fiction is wonderful – full of subtleties and humour and tenderness.”

Michael Ondaatje

What makes a dutiful daughter, wife, mother? What makes a good Indian woman?

Devi returns to Madras with an American degree, only to be sucked in by the old order of things-a demanding mother’s love, a suitable but hollow marriage, an unsuitable lover who offers a brief escape. But the women of the hoary past come back to claim Devi through myth and story, music and memory. They show her what it is to stay and endure, what it is to break free and move on.

Sita has been the ideal daughter-in-law, wife and mother. But now that she has arranged a marriage for her daughter Devi, she has to come to terms with an old dream of her own. Mayamma knows how to survive as the old family retainer, bending the way the wind blows. But, through Devi, she too can see a different life.

A subtle and tender tale of women’s lives in India, this award-winning novel is structured with the delicacy and precision of a piece of music. Fusing myth, tale and the real voices of different women, The Thousand Faces of Night brings alive the underworld of Indian women’s lives.

From Reviews

“Commandingly accurate…”
The Bookseller

“[An] exquisitely woven tale… Hariharan’s language is poetic and teasing, but always measured, drawing us in and never providing answers so we shift and yearn with Devi as she realizes how many different faces and roles she has inherited… an important and truly international book.”
Meera Sayal in The Mail on Sunday

“[The novel] shows, with exceptional fictional skill, the subtle and everyday way in which women are bludgeoned to play male-scripted subordinate roles.”
India Today

“Githa Hariharan displays a control of the medium, a sophistication that would be the envy of any contemporary writer. Her diction is pointed and the textures communicated exquisite. In terms of technique, her writing is masterful… she cannot write of an experience but will animate it with sharp and vivid life. There is not a single flat sentence in the book.”
The Economic Times

“Refreshing candour… Githa Hariharan writes tersely, concisely, yet most evocatively.”
Hindustan Times

“A novel that every Indian woman must read… and every Indian man.”

“Githa Hariharan revels in colour, taste and smell… a novel about the elemental things of life: about love and death, about men and women, story and myth…”
New Internationalist