Read A Matter of Time by Shashi Deshpande Online


One morning, with no warning, Gopal -- respected professor, devoted husband, and caring father -- walks out on his family for reasons even he cannot articulate. His wife, Sumi, returns with their three daughters to the shelter of the Big House where her parents, Kalyani and Shripati, live in oppressive silence: they have not spoken to each other in thirty-five years. As thOne morning, with no warning, Gopal -- respected professor, devoted husband, and caring father -- walks out on his family for reasons even he cannot articulate. His wife, Sumi, returns with their three daughters to the shelter of the Big House where her parents, Kalyani and Shripati, live in oppressive silence: they have not spoken to each other in thirty-five years. As the mystery of this long silence is unraveled, a horrifying story of suffering and loss is laid bare, a story that seems to be repeating itself in Sumi's life.Set in present day Karnataka, A Matter of Time explores the intricate relationships within an extended family encompassing three generations. Images from Hindu religion, myth, and local history twine delicately with images of contemporary India as this family faces and accepts the changes that have suddenly become part of their lives. As their secrets and strengths are revealed, so are the complications of family and culture. This multigenerational story, told in the individual voices of the characters, catches each in turn in the cycles of love, loss, strength, and renewal that become an essential part of their identities....

Title : A Matter of Time
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781558612143
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 269 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Matter of Time Reviews

  • Versha
    2019-03-18 00:42

    Yet again I've started my year with an Indian Author and one of my most favorites too, and it was a great start no doubt! As usual, i am smitten by Shashi Deshpande’s writing. Even if I finish all her books I don’t mind re-reading all of them again and again. For me, her novels are not just books with stories, few characters, a beginning and an ending but it goes beyond that. Her characters, especially for me, are very real it feels as if I've met each one of them at some point of my life or at least will be meeting them in the near future or maybe I am one of them! ‘The Matter Of Time’ is an insightful book which deals with ‘life’ or more appropriately ‘the changes in life’ and how people cope up with it. Gopal, head of the family don’t think twice when he walks out on his wife Sumi and 3 teenage daughters Aru, Charu and Seema. Why? he himself is not sure or maybe he doesn’t know how to pinpoint exactly what went wrong. Now Sumi with no mistake of hers’ has to accept this change which she least expected at that stage of her life and she does it very gracefully even though she doesn’t want to go back to her parent's house she goes for the sake of her daughters. Not only she gets advice from her near ones but even her daughters pester her with their questions on her silence but nothing influences her from taking few decisions for herself and she does everything keeping her composure intact and I admire her for that. She feels sorry for Aru her eldest daughter who is now insecure of everything in her life but still Sumi wants her to love life not to think of it as a burden. At times I felt helpless for each and every character in this book even for Gopal. Maybe sometimes it's difficult to find reason or rather life is more than just reasons and situations it's more about living for the moment, that is all, at least thats what I felt in the end. I think somewhere this book has made me emotionally stronger and I am looking forward to read the sequel, very curious about how Aru’s life has turned out.

  • Syl
    2019-03-01 01:25

    This book deals with the lives of 4 women - a mother and her 3 daughters who are deserted by their husband/father. Gopal and Sumi were a happily married couple, when one day, Gopal suddenly leaves his wife and 3 teenage daughters with no due cause. The children are stunned and try to cope with their loss in various ways, while the mother is curiously apathic. Then the story slowly unfolds, showing us glimpses of past, present and occasionally the future. The deserted family comes to their maternal home to resume their lives, and they rebond with their various relatives. The females of this novel are shown as strong souls who may bend, but never break, and the males too are not very villaneous. I even pitied the father who abruptly left the family. This was a good read, but somehow I found it less satisfying than the previous Deshpande books I read.

  • Neha
    2019-02-28 03:38

    Out of habit, I scanned through Amazon and Goodreads reviews of this book before purchasing it. A recurring theme of all its reviews is two-pronged: too many characters; marvellous writing. With bittersweet pride, I have to agree that is correct.Shashi Deshpande's book, for one, begins at a different kind of starting point. Most storylines tend to start at the happy facade, veer into the sad twist, and thereon, chart a way forward. A Matter of Time begins, however, at the beginning that matters most to its characters – when Gopal leaves. To me, this highlights not only a precision of writing few are capable of, but also displays a keen understanding of the ever-evolving human nature, and how it alters people's [in this case, the characters'] priorities. I love this book and all its layers. I love that, even though hecan'tdo so explicitly, at every step, in every soliloquy, Gopal explains why he left, and why his reasons may admittedly not seem like reasons enough. The gulf between what your existence demands and what your heart wants is one too vast for most to traverse. I often wondered if Gopal could make that journey. More worryingly, I wondered if he truly wanted to. While the book has no real protagonist (even if its back cover might fool you), the stars of the story, for me, are Kalyani, Sumi, and Aru. In some ways, each is relatable, even if entirely not in some other facets. At first glance and in the first few pages, Kalyani might come across as the most subjugated character, but read her with an open mind – one free of notions and presumptions – and you'll see why Kalyani might be the most courageous woman in this book. She is unafraid to love in the ways she sees best – how many human beings can we ever truthfully say this about?Sumi came across as the archetypal Indian woman – seemingly subjugated until put to test under fire only to emerge stronger and freer than ever. Not for a moment did I dislike Sumi's journey – her wings only take shape when she starts falling – but I did wonder if her characterisation was intended to be as typical as it was. I hate to say this, but I do with love and some pleasure of the knowledge that comes with age; Aru is the most trapped character in the book's family. For a large part of it, anyway. This isn't a personality flaw; indeed, breaking the mould requires an intense familiarity of the insides of its crevices. Arucannotbe free unless she has fully understood the trappings of humanity – fear, anger, revenge, pity, self-pride, self-deprecation, so many others. As many teenagers do, she is inclined to dilute these mortal tendencies into the brackets of gender – man oppressor, woman suppressed. To watch her graduate from those stereotypes to an all-pervading understanding ofhumanflaws, which see not gender nor age, is perhaps the most heartwarming journey of all. Aru is someone I'd have disliked initially, but prided upon as she grew up. Surekha's character, I think, is meant to embody the reader's feelings towards Aru. Kids are hard to love, and Surekha's patience makes it a little easier to tenderise the seemingly-stony image Gopal and Sumi's eldest has. A Matter of Time made me sad. It didn't say anything I don't already know about people; but I was impressed with its contextualisation of human flaws with classical allegories. I love, love,lovehow Shashi Deshpande has shed light on the average intellectual Indian's human condition, with all its grandiose and inanities. Where do you go when your life is struck by an existentialist crisis and your mother-in-law blames her lack of proactivity for why you probably walked out on her daughter? How do you end a cycle you don't even know you're a part of? How do you rationalise the sorrow of death when you've promised someone – you don't know who – that mortality shan't hurt you anymore? These are questions Indians need to ask, because these are questions countless quiet Indians might have awaited the answers to all their lives. For that, amongst other reasons, this book must be read.PS. the charactersaren'tvery confusing once you figure out your instincts about which ones really matter. PPS. the writing is so good. So, so, so good.

  • Claire S
    2019-02-25 02:22

    Really liked this.. Even though it was very dense reading, with each paragraph almost having multiple references to other characters or other events that had happened and so on. And there were a lot of characters involved in the story. So much so, I had to make a chart of who was who. And then start again with a better chart structure, as the first one didn't have enough capacity for it all. That second one worked though, I was able to find the characters mentioned and re-orient myself as necessary. And the content was, at its base, very sad. And struggle-ful. But through it all, there was a thread of continuity, a feeling that things will go on for the characters, there will be a sustainable way forward. And that was the case for most by the end. Writing this makes me want to re-read it again!

  • Ritu
    2019-02-28 22:15

    A matter of time is an honest, emotionally retrospective & complex book, mostly because it explores human relationships. It feels like you are standing in the middle of a room full of people.. with this web of interwoven connections, & you're still just a spectator.. an island in all that chaos & complexity. The reason why relationships work or don't is hard enough to pin down, but you relate to it.. the constant questioning, the guilt, the soul searching.. it's all so believable & just human. A simple narrative with diverse characters & beautiful emotions..!

  • Andrew
    2019-03-13 04:23

    The sheer number of characters can be overwhelming and the plot drags a little, but A Matter of Time has a lot to offer. It promotes a feminist message but manages to humanize the absentee father, all the while packing an emotional punch.

  • Anuradha Mohankumar
    2019-03-11 20:20

    An impressive account of human relations. This is the first to,e I read a book written by Shashi Deshpande but this is definitely not the last. Highly recommended.

  • Akshay Dasgupta
    2019-03-13 23:35

    This is my first book by Shashi Deshpande. To be honest, I had never head of the author before and I accidentally came up the book while browsing through someone's to-read list and was drawn instantly to the story line. After finishing this book I am a little disappointed to be honest. Not because it was boring or badly written but like most books by Indian authors it was very depressing. The characters find themselves in the bleakest of circumstances with hardly any hope of coming out triumphant. Nevertheless, the book is wonderfully written. It is extremely deep in meaning with ample of pearls of wisdom from the author. Another drawback about the book was the constant change in narration from first person to third person which was very confusing at times.

  • Pavithra
    2019-03-14 03:22

    There is an intense interiority to Deshpande's books as Ritu Menon puts it. There is no marketable quality or any magical round up to a story which in my opinion is applaudable. She is clearly not writing for an audience but she is writing realistically, genuinely. She surpasses many writers I have read in the recent past in terms of her profound insight into "regular" "normal" characters lives. Most profound of all is her ability to capture the essence of relationships and dive so deep into it almost as if she has been every character herself; The depth of ones thoughts and feelings which is more often than not, quite tough to express. She does this in such a graceful manner that it gives you goosebumps. Whether you like it or not you end up learning so much more about life, attitude, one's judgment, handling the existence or lack of relationships and so on. I do no justice in trying to express how good this book is- one should read it, have no expectations from it but just let themselves be wrapped in and woven tight in every page. To me it was nicely localised in Karnataka where I have lived the first 14 years of my life. The English is much superior to many contemporary writers of our time. My thoughts keep going back to various aspects of this book and I feel the urge to write and write pages about it myself.

  • Ellen
    2019-03-11 23:26

    Very good. I found most of the characters to be highly relatable (though I did have to draw a family tree of all the relationships). And the way the plot weaved in and out of the past was so well-done: it overshadowed the book's "present," which was fine. My only problem was the final two chapters. I didn't particularly mind Shripati's death, it made some contextual sense. But Sumi' feels too much like "The Awakening" or "Hedda Gabler." Or a few other books I've read where a woman gains her independence, then kills herself. So that's why this gets 4 stars, not five. Brilliant exploration of the human condition for the majority of the book, then massive letdown in the final two chapters.

  • Sandra
    2019-03-04 21:18

    OH my--yes--I liked this book. I think Ritu's review says it all. I would highly recommend this book and really think it deserves 4.5 stars! I felt at moments my emotions were stretched to the limits--so many profound thoughts/statements were gleaned--absolutely a book I could relate to.This is my first experience with Shashi Deshpande and my library had to search the entire State to locate a copy at the University library for me to borrow. I would like to check out a couple of her children's books and perhaps another novel or two by this author.In the beginning, I kept thinking this book is unlike anything I have currently been reading, but I am so glad I kept going to the surprising ending. I know some folks like reading the end first, but I am glad I waited.

  • Anupama Sarkar
    2019-03-22 20:18

    Full points to Shashi Deshpande for an engaging beginning, a marvelous story, thoughtful characters and brilliant language!However, sadly, I can not say the same about narration. There is nothing wrong with diction, syntax or style. It is brilliant in parts, in fact loaded with pearls of wisdom and would have been a rare jewel, only if Deshpande had handled the switch from third person to first person a little more dexterously.

  • Dhali
    2019-03-03 21:42

    I got about 80 pages in but I can't make myself interested in the story or the characters. The writing is slow and overly detailed. I am a bit distracted these days so I may give this another go when I'm in a better frame of mind.