Ladies Coupe, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Meet Akhilandeswari, 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.

In the intimate atmosphere of the all-women sleeping car - the 'Ladies Coupe' - Akhila asks the five women she is travelling with the question that has been haunting her all her adult life: can a woman stay single and be happy, or does she need a man to feel complete?

This wonderfully atmospheric, deliciously warm novel takes the reader into the heart of women's lives in contemporary India, revealing how the dilemmas that women face in their relationships with husbands, mothers, friends, employers and children are the same the world over.


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

After the death of her father, Akhila as the eldest child becomes responsible for providing for her family. At 45 and working in a tax office she remains single although her younger siblings are all now married. She has never known what it is like to live her own life instead of just being the daughter, sister or aunt and having her family depend on her. She buys herself a one-way ticket in the ladies coupe of a train to a seaside town at the southernmost tip of India. In the intimacy of the female carriage she asks each of her travelling companions whether or not they think that a woman can be happy as a single woman living on her own. In answer to her question a chapter is devoted to each of the women's stories which give us such a flavour of Indian life and yet the dilemmas faced are universal. There is a lovely author's note at the end of the book with recipes for some of the South Indian dishes mentioned in the book.

Review by

A group of women are brought together by circumstance in a ladies only railway carriage in India and swap their stories and recipes. I loved it.