Ruth Vanita's Memory of Light
Ruth Vanita's Memory of Light

Author Ruth Vanita's new e-book Memory of Light is a same-sex love story in the 18th century India

Set in the colonial backdrop, this story explores a romantic relationship between a female courtesan and a poetess

Amidst the gloomy lockdown, Penguin Random House has come up with a beautiful lesbian tale set in the 18th century India. The e-book titled Memory of Light by Ruth Vanita, to be released on April 20 is a love story of a dazzling courtesan from Kashi named Chapla Bai and poet Nafis Bai. As poets and performers vie to be a part of the celebrations of King George III's 5oth birthday, an irresistible passion takes root, expanding and contracting like a wave of light when Chapla enters into the life of Nafis for a brief while. When Chapla leaves for home, they part with the dream of building a life together. Can their relationship survive the distances? That's the riveting plot of Ruth's story.

<em>Cover of Rutha Vanita's e-book Memory of Light</em>
Cover of Rutha Vanita's e-book Memory of Light

Narrated in the voice of Nafis, Memory of Light weaves an exquisite web of conversations, songs, reminiscences around a life-changing love. The book also highlights how gender stereotypes were not so strict in those times, where same-sex love was common among both men and women, as was the egalitarian friendship between men and women.

<em>Ruth Vanita</em>
Ruth Vanita

Ruth Vanita taught at Delhi University for 20 years and is now a professor at the University of Montana. She is the author of several books, including Sappho and the Virgin Mary: Same-Sex Love and the English Literary Imagination (1996); Love’s Rite: Same-Sex Marriage in India (2005); Gandhi’s Tiger and Sita’s Smile: Essays on Gender, Sexuality and Culture (2005), Gender, Sex and the City: Urdu Rekhti Poetry in India 1780–1870 (2012); Dancing with the Nation: Courtesans in Bombay Cinema (2017).