The Sleeping Dictionary

The Sleeping Dictionary

Book - 2013
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A sweeping saga and a love story set against a background of huge political and cultural upheaval. The term "sleeping dictionary" was coined for young Indian women who slept with British men and educated them in the ways of India. Set between 1925 and the end of World War II, "The Sleeping Dictionary" is the story of Kamala, born to a peasant family in West Bengal, who makes her way to Calcutta in the 1930s.
Publisher: New York :, Gallery Books,, 2013.
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781476703169
Characteristics: xix, 496 pages ;,21 cm.


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Great way to get some background on pre WWII India up to the time of independence. Of course the heroine escaped death too many times to be realistic but she needed to survive to tell the story of India through the life of a low-born peasant orphaned by a tsunami through to learning English as a servant in a boarding school then on to the brothel system in British India and the dysfunctional government in India leading to its independence. I learned a lot and the writing is intelligent and entertaining. I was daunted by the Indian glossary at the front of the book but it is totally not necessary as the Indian words are easy to parse in context. And I did try the rice recipe at the end of the book.

Oct 04, 2015

I so enjoyed this book because of the strong character of Pom. Her strength and intelligence makes the journey through this time in history hopeful in the face of overwhelming odds.
A rewarding read.

Nov 18, 2013

I read about this book in the Mpls Star Trib and immediately put it on hold. It was definitely worth the wait. Massey creates a strong female character who withstands more adversity than most people could handle. Although I am not quite finished with the book, I love that our protagonist takes on roles which were always dominated by males. Typhoons, tidal waves, orphaned, and a survivor. Wow.

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