Reviews tagging 'Child death'

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

12 reviews

nicolaparty's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


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kendrastrand's review

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dark sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

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javafenn's review against another edition

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funny hopeful mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

This book was amazing! It took me a really long time to finish because I needed major surgery and took a couple months to get my life back on track but once I got on to reading it I was astounded! It was funny but also intense. The drama was palpable and you really rooted for Greta. I will read this again and again! 

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heatherjchin's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional funny hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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cheye13's review

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adventurous dark funny fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

This was a much more nuanced take on the women-killing-men mirco-genre than I've usually seen, and the result is something unique and uniquely amusing. It's simultaneously a very broadly relatable story (alcoholism, domestic abuse, romance, loneliness), and a story very specific to this one community (the manner of gossip, the intersection of caste and religion and wealth). Obviously, a lot of focus is on how its better for women to be widows than divorced in this specific community and their wider culture.

The main element that turns the tropes of the micro-genre into something fresh is that Geeta actively wants no part in these murders. She is not the typical man-killing mentor that the trope usually calls for, which makes for a unique plot and some amusing shenanigans. At the same time, the book does not hide the pervasive and severe misogyny these women live through, but strikes a delicate balance between acknowledging these genuinely horrifying events with the persistence of daily life.

A surpsingly fun read.

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kelly_e's review against another edition

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dark funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

Title: The Bandit Queens
Author: Parini Shroff
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4.25
Pub Date: January 3, 2023

T H R E E • W O R D S

Cinematic • Sassy • Empowering

📖 S Y N O P S I S

Geeta is believed to have killed her vanished husband – a rumour she hasn’t bothered trying to correct, because a reputation like that can keep a single woman safe in rural India. But when she’s approached for help in ridding another wife of her abusive drunk of a husband, her reluctant agreement sets in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of all the women in the village.

💭 T H O U G H T S

Initially intrigued by the premise, I added The Bandit Queens to my TBR earlier in the year. But what really encouraged me to get to this debut sooner rather than later was its inclusion on the 2023 Women's Prize for Fiction longlist. And I must say this book is unlike anything else I've read.

Firstly, Parini Shroff does an extraordinary job portraying the sense of place of this small rural Indian village. The author expertly highlights the plight of women living within both the caste system and a patriarchal society. It's clear she's done her research as she details the historical context of constraints put into place in order to keep women oppressed. Additionally, she cleverly uses dark humour to really help situate the reader.

The audio narrated by Soneela Nankani is excellent. Yet because there are so many characters, I relied on tandem reading with a digital copy in order to keep track of everyone and everything. Each of the characters' stories had an important place and I really wanted everything to flow, but it's quite possible with so much going on it disrupted the pacing. It lulled from time to time, and really took me longer to get through than it normally would.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing, the characters, the cultural insight, and the humour, even though there were some kinks with the structure and pacing. This novel based on friendship and women banding together to form a community was incredibly empowering, and I'm glad it was highlighted on the longlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction. The Bandit Queens would certainly make an excellent movie.

📚 R E C O M M E N D • T O
Desperate Housewives devotees
• dark humorists
• fans of female camaraderie

🔖 F A V O U R I T E • Q U O T E S

"This was the version of her who had survived and there was no sense in apologizing for being a survivor."

"The amount of bullshit that fell from that fucker’s mouth could fertilize half of India."

"He broke the contract first. When someone threatens your body, you have every right to protect yourself." 

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meganlilyflower's review

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challenging dark emotional funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I loved the humor and pacing of this book. It kept it going and gave it so much life as we moved through a dark and often very serious subject. The story went so many places I enjoyed and was surprised by and think it was executed perfectly.  

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sarah984's review against another edition

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dark funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I liked this dark comedy a lot - it felt almost like a movie and there are great relationships between the women. I knocked off a star because the romance was kind of whatever to me and some aspects of the final confrontation were a bit silly.

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writersrelief's review against another edition

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challenging funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

 
Parini Shroff’s debut novel, THE BANDIT QUEENS, is a darkly comedic statement about the secondary status of women in a small Indian village—and their ultimate empowerment. When her abusive, alcoholic husband vanishes without a trace, Geeta is avoided by the townspeople, who consider her a husband-murdering sorceress. And that suits Geeta just fine, since it allows her a freedom she never had before. She may be lonely, but there are also perks: No one harasses her and no one dares to not buy her jewelry. But her reputation eventually brings about unexpected repercussions when other women in the village decide they want to “lose their nose rings” and permanently get rid of their husbands—and they turn to Geeta for her so-called expertise. The ensuing chain of events results in a few murders, the return of a beloved friend, the arrival of some very unpleasant men, and even a new love interest for Geeta. As long as she can avoid being murdered or mutilated herself. 
 
There are laugh-out-loud moments and some wry humor, but it was a bit disconcerting to read a story where women and lower chaste members are treated as second class citizens. Based on the poor living conditions, the male characters’ attitudes of entitlement, and the general disregard for women, you might think the events in the story took place decades ago. But then a character uses a cell phone and you realize the women in this story are being mistreated NOW. And it serves as another culture shock that the horrific story of the original Bandit Queen, which provides inspiration for Geeta and her put-upon female friends, is based on a real person. 
 
Definitely a well-written, unique read offering unexpected insights into how women are treated in third-world locales. 

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afi_whatafireads's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Parini Shroff wrote a story that is not only entertaining, but depicts the harshness of a society that is still present until today. From the cultures of patriarchy, to the cruelties and abuse in marriages and to the predators that lived in the society.

It took me awhile to really engage with the story, and I honestly had mixed feelings with it, but I feel that the second half of the book saved the story; hence why I'm rating it 4🌟 . For a debut novel, I feel that Shroff did a good job in the sense of relaying the message to the world. Writing-wise, there were a few parts where transitions to each dialogues felt messy; which was one of the problems that I had with the book in the first place. But, I'd learnt to just accept it like reading a Bollywood Soap Opera where the women in the stories are not only extremely flawed, they are also relatable in ways that make you'll laugh at their antiques but also ; its one that felt realistic.


"Despite his words, a question, a request, a demand bloomed in the space between them. She felt certain about the words that fell, but as an automaton, blank and mechanical. She was performing a memorized task, one born of survival, buried upon freedom, resurrected now: "You're right. I'm wrong. I'm sorry.


The Bandit Queens is actually inspired from a real person - Phoolan Devi, in which she was called the Bandit Queen herself. The author took inspirations in which the main character Geeta, looked up to Phoolan Devi, and will always ask herself - What would Phoolan Devi do in this situation . Phoolan Devi is one amongst many that represents the cruel truths of patriarchy and misogyny in India. Its not only saddening, but heartbreaking to know how she had been raped multiple times in her lifetime and beaten at every place that she ended up with.

I feel that in some ways, whilst murder cannot be justified as moral - the desperation of oneself ; in which to endure the abuse, extreme gaslighting and constant demoralisation ; had led to the extreme measures that the characters in the book had taken. Whilst the author had written the book in a way that it was witty and hilarious; the fact that they had to do what they did in the first place was just infuriating. The irony in which the author had shown in the characters - were in their ability to manipulate the situation to their benefit. Not gonna lie, most of the characters in here are pretty insufferable to say the least, but they were also endearing in a sense. I feel that each of the women in this book had a character growth and the kind of camaraderie that had been built by the same source of misery.

Another topic that the author had brought upon was the hardships of motherhood and the obsession for women to mould to society's standards to take the role only to procreate. Its not only saddening that women who didn't have the children were judged and frowned upon, its also sad that the worth of a woman is based on her ability to mother their children. Its one that reflects the world that we live in ; and how this pressure to be 'perfect' in the eyes of society that it can make women to lose their sense of worth. It was heartbreaking to read and it hurts more that its an issue that is still ongoing all around the world.


“Men like him would always look at her and see the things they were glad they weren’t: weak, small, timid, powerless. Let the”


Overall, whilst it took me a bit of time to warm up with the story; and I had mixed feelings for it at some parts, I'd have to say, I enjoyed the forward tone that the author wrote the story. Its entertaining at best, but the issues are forwardly written that it can't be missed. It might put some stereotype to the country itself, as the story is set in India, but I feel that, where each part of women who can relates to the story, no matter where you are, I hope that it can serve as something that can make you be stronger. For ones who relate to Geetha, I pray for your well-being and my happiness comes your way.

Def a solid read as a longlist for the 2023's Women Prize.

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