Girl in White Cotton is the debut novel of Avni Doshi – an Indian origin writer now based out of Dubai. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2020, this novel makes you relook at familial bonds, and may even leave you wounded at the harsh realities in houses which never become homes.
It is essentially the story of love and betrayal between a mother and a daughter. The mother, Tara, rebels against her own parents, husband, and in-laws, and goes on to have an extra marital affair with a spiritual guru, seldom prioritising her daughter’s needs. Unsurprisingly, the daughter, Antara - whose father is apathetic towards the mother-daughter duo - grows up feeling unloved and uncared for.
Very few works of fiction from India have crossed that line of sanctity assigned to the love between a parent and a child, and this novel makes you analyse the relationships we tend to take for granted. As author Prayaag Akbar puts it, this novel is a “startling depiction of inter-generational damage, told in spare, elegant prose,” and, hence, one you shall not miss.
(Text and voiceover by Athira Nair; Video editing by Venkatesh S)