The story of a woman's search for strength and independence Meet Akhilandeshwari, Akhila for short: forty-five and single, an income tax clerk and a woman who has never been allowed to live her own life—always the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the provider. Until the day she gets herself a one-way ticket to the seaside town of Kanyakumari, gloriously alone for the first time in her life and determined to break free of all that her conservative Tamil brahmin life has bound her to. In the intimate atmosphere of the ladies coupe which she shares with five other women, Akhila gets to know her fellow travellers: Janaki, pampered wife and confused mother; Margaret Shanti, a chemistry teacher married to the poetry of elements and an insensitive tyrant too self-absorbed to recognize her needs; Prabha Devi, the perfect daughter and wife, transformed for life by a glimpse of a swimming pool; fourteen-year-old Sheela, with her ability to perceive what others cannot; and Marikolanthu, whose innocence was destroyed by one night of lust. As she listens to the women's stories, Akhila is drawn into the most private moments of their lives, seeking in them a solution to the question that has been with her all her life: Can a woman stay single and be happy, or does a woman need a man to feel complete?
Anita Nair is a bestselling and widely acclaimed novelist. Among her several books, The Better Man, Ladies Coupé and Mistress have been translated into over thirty languages around the world. For her total contribution to children's literature in English, she was awarded the Central Sahitya Akademi Award in 2013. She has also published Malabar Mind, a collection of poems, and Goodnight and God Bless, a collection of essays. A playwright, she has written the screenplay for the film adaptation of her novel Lessons in Forgetting, which won the 2012 National Film Award for the Best Feature Film in English.
Anita conducts a creative-writing mentorship program in Bangalore called Anita's Attic. To know more, visit her at www.anitanair.net and www.anitasattic.com or follow @anitanairauthor on Twitter and Instagram.