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Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A Novel

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A Novel

Written by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Narrated by Meera Syal


Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A Novel

Written by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Narrated by Meera Syal

ratings:
4.5/5 (332 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 13, 2017
ISBN:
9780062680563
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as ebookEbook

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Description

A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women's lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life . . .

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she's spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community's "moral police." But when the widows' gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 13, 2017
ISBN:
9780062680563
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Balli Kaur Jaswal is the author of EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS. Born in Singapore and raised in Japan, Russia and the Philippines, she studied creative writing in the US and the UK. She was inspired to write this novel after living in Southall, West London, around the time that FIFTY SHADES OF GREY hit the bestseller lists… She currently lives in Singapore with her husband.


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Reviews

What people think about Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

4.4
332 ratings / 58 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    I LOVED the beginning of the book. The characters seemed real, complex, and interesting. The situations seemed believable and interesting. It really put a new light on stereotypes everyone has about elderly widowed women. As the book went on the situations became more unbelievable. There seemed to be a theme that a good erotic story would solve all the problems in the world. And I didn't like the 2nd half of the book as much. Yet even the second half was interesting and I did want to know what would happen.I have recommended this book to my friends because the beginning of the book is that good.
  • (4/5)
    Set mostly in London's Southall area this story does include erotic tales, romance, mystery, the conflicts of generations raised with different expectations, the oppressive weight of community and family expectations. Because it backs up my notion, held since I was 13 that our grandmothers have had more time to learn about sex than we have, so our expecting them to be shocked - or their acting shocked - at just about anything has got to be mostly absurd. It moves well, and the characters are close to interesting, but it never quite jelled for me. London just didn't feel very real in spite of all the shop names.
  • (4/5)
    So far this is the 2018 winner for most awkward title when folks ask what you're reading ...There were no big surprises but everything unfolded in a way that was fun to read. The pace was quick, I smiled often, and I even laughed a few times. I would qualify it as a light read yet still addressing some substantial topics with a feminist perspective.A couple of warnings: There is a romantic subplot. It's not overwhelming or strongly focused on. Tolerable and corralled into limited areas. It's reasonable romance as well. Nothing eye-rolling.There is explicit sexual content. I would feel silly pointing this out given the title, but apparently some folks weren't expecting any to actually be there. I guess they thought the title was more referential or metaphoric.
  • (4/5)
    Nikki is a disappointing daughter who left law school to tend bar. When her goes to post a matchmaking notice at the temple for her sister, Nikki notices a job teaching Indian women to write. While she believes she will be doing creative writing with them, she soon learns they are illiterate. Yet, they all have stories to tell including deeply painful ones relating to deaths in the community. As she connects with the women, Nikki also begins to explore love and deepen her relationship with her family and community.
  • (4/5)
    A charming story, very English. This is more closely aligned with Calender Girls or Last Exotic Marigold Hotel than one might expect. It is a little darker than those films, but definitely not unrelated. In case you are not sure, there are in fact dirty stories in the mix. (You may find them sexy, they didn't do it for me, and I may never eat ghee or eggplant again). There is a lovely message though about the costs of secrets and repression. This is a solid 3.5 for me, I appreciate anything feel-good that doesn't leave me nauseated.
  • (5/5)
    Now, I'm not as completely sexually reserved as Rachel Maddow, but I usually don't like a book with much sex in it. This book is about Indian women writing their own erotica, and it's wonderful. Erotica that actually promoted relationship rather than self-centeredness.
  • (4/5)
    Picked up purely because of the title-- which made me think of all those Punjabi matrons I know, and made me giggle to think they'd probably outdo any story in this book, plus dance while doing it. The story was entertaining (as were the stories within the story). I'll never look at an aubergine or cucumber the same again.
  • (4/5)
    The erotic tales are the part I like least about this novel, but as you move through the story you come to realize how essential they are to the transformations that occur in the lives of many females members of a Sikh community living in London that is stuck with destructive secrets and ancient traditions.
  • (4/5)
    Listening to this thanks to Reece Witherspoon’s recommendation from her book club pick.

    Was not sure what to expect when I started this one. I really enjoyed this audiobook. Such an eclectic group of women. I rooted for Nikki the whole time. Glad she had a happy ending. Love that their stories got published in the end.
  • (5/5)
    A pleasantly wonderful book I will recommend to friends far and wide! Looking forward to more from the author.
  • (4/5)
    Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaufman Jaswal - I got this book through the ER program. It involves a young woman from a traditional Indian family who begins what she thinks is a job teaching English to a group of widows. It turns instead into helping these women write and tell erotic stories. The character development is great and I got caught up in the book immediately.
  • (4/5)
    Firstly, thank you to LibraryThing for providing me with a free copy of this book and I'm so sorry I didn't get to it sooner.This is a lovely, fun story that I found to be a very quick read (it's just that I didn't have time to read it! My fault, nobody else's, of course.)I adored the setting, which was mostly in Southall, an area of London predominantly populated by Punjabi people (say that five times fast). I loved learning about Punjabi traditions, like dining in the gurdwara langar hall as a community, how Punjabi women all take on the last name Kaur and Punjabi men take the last name Singh. How the community is tight-knit and protective of their own but, like any community, are uneasy about newcomers and can easily turn on group members with nasty, untrue gossip. Nikki was one of those outsiders. She is a Sikh and Punjabi, yet she was never part of the Southall community, having lived outside of it in Enfield.When she unexpectedly starts teaching a small group of Punjabi widows how to read and write in English initially, her membership into the Southall community is instant but not necessarily welcome. The women are suspicious of Nikki and her modern, millennial ways. She smokes, she doesn't pray at the temple, she doesn't even speak Punjabi that well. But reading and writing in English takes a glorious turn, and I think one can figure out where these lessons lead to...What I was surprised about was the murder mystery-esque quality that the novel took on. I wasn't expecting Nikki to become entangled in the drama of her boss's life and the life of her students. This is not an issue in and of itself, I enjoyed the drama. What I had a problem with was Nikki's pushiness and nosiness into the lives of her students, all of whom were older than her and had lived much longer lives than she had. I think it's possible that the passage of time in this story moves very quickly, and so maybe I've underestimated just how much time had passed since the beginning of Nikki's teaching and her comfort level with her students. It seemed, not sudden, per se, but a little sped up in how quickly she became chummy with the widows, seeing as the start of their relationship was very rocky and lacking in trust, on both sides.I liked Nikki, I really did. I just had some issues with her 'I'm a university graduate so I'm learned in all things' attitude. I thought it was odd how she just chose to show up at Sheena's place of work and demanded to know about the mystery behind Karina. It felt very presumptuous to me that Nikki just expected Sheena would acquiesce to answering her very personal questions immediately. While she was at work! Moreover, how is a 22-year-old telling a widow in her forties how to have a relationship with another man? Why is Nikki so confident about her life skills and relationship-management that she feels she can delve out how-to advice to a woman twice her age? In this sense, Nikki irked me, but overall, I found her to be a lovely girl with a good heart and good intentions. She helped give these lonely, sometimes lost, elderly women a voice and a purpose in a world where they are essentially forgotten about once their husbands are no longer in the picture.I also really enjoyed the romance in the novel, which I think helped cement the 'Nikki pretends to be 45 but really she's 22' sort of vibe she gave off. That's the only reason I'd give this four stars instead of five because I wasn't in love with Nikki's character, but that is obviously just a personal preference and doesn't reflect on the wonderful writing and story line. I highly recommend this book! It was so much fun.
  • (3/5)
    Not something I'd normally read however with this being a selection from Reese Witherspoon's book club i thought I'd try it on hoopla. I was pleasantly surprised it was a good audiobook. This book had me cracking up at moments & glad i had headphones on for other moments. It was interesting to learn about the punjabi culture & the sisterhood bond that formed with the charecters was nice. An interesting fun read glad I gave it a listen.
  • (4/5)
    I never thought I'd say this, but I felt like the erotic stories contained within this book got a little repetitive and I started skimming those portions after a while - although I did have some good laughs over a certain discussion of grocery produce. In contrast, as I progressed through the book, I found the life stories of the Punjabi widows and Nikki's budding romance with Jason much more engaging. I did like the stereotype-flipping aspect of the novel, revealing a set of reserved widows from a conservative culture to be feisty ladies who just might put a few vigilante men in their place. I do wish the novel had gone a little bit further on this point, but - to be fair - that might have necessitated a much longer book.
  • (4/5)
    Nikki, a Sikh immigrant living in London , faces a crisis when her father suddenly passes away. Her job as a bartender is insufficient to provide for her family and she comes to realize she needs a better paying job. Her search takes her to the local Punjabi community center where she answers an ad for an English teacher to a group of Punjabi widows. Nikki is at a loss when she realizes how rudimentary the widows command of English is rudimentary. Gradually the women's English improves and Nikki gives them an assignment to write about their lives. Imagine Nikki's surprise when the ladies stories turn out to be erotica. This gives Nikki a deeper insight into the women's lives and n return the women get an opportunity to express feelings and thoughts they never could before. This is an interesting look into another culture and their views of lif, love and everything in between.
  • (3/5)
    Nikki thinks she is teaching a literacy class but the Indian widows from her part of London want to tell their stories....their erotic stories! Underlying this are currents of hostility and aggression as old meets new with traditions and customs. I did learn a lot about the importance of arranged marriages as well as the presumed role of the widowed Indian women. And these women were having none of it! Cute, quirky, chick-lit with a touch of mystery and healing.
  • (3/5)
    Although I appreciated one of the premises of this story, that older women don't necessarily forget the pleasures of sex whether they practice them or not, the story still didn't work very well for me. The juxtaposition of sexual fantasies with a story of the immigrant experience was jarring as it went back and forth without a true integration of context. I appreciated the final bravery of these women as they worked to make their lives more meaningful and safer in a culture that often gave men all the power and control.
  • (5/5)
    I was intrigued by the description of this book, and I was not disappointed. This book was absolutely delightful. The women in the book made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. I am looking forward to many more books by this author.
  • (4/5)
    Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows lives up to its name. It is entertaining and at times feels like reading parts of steamy romance novels. However, there is a lot more to the book. It is about a group of women finding their voices--after their husbands have died and they are no longer regarded in their society as they once were. They became invisible. The stories definitely changed all that.
  • (4/5)
    Very fun book. I fun read with complications
  • (2/5)
    Nikki is a typical modern young adult. Much to the dismay of her parents, she dropped out of law school to work in a pub while she discovers who she is. When looking for work, she notices an advertisement for a teacher for creative writing classes at Southall, a traditional Punjabi community center. When she shows up, the classroom is full of widows, expecting her to teach them basic literacy skills.I really wanted to like this book but I thought it was slow moving and shallow. Nikki was not a particularly smart or likeable character. I really wanted to know more about the widows individual lives, but instead they were ancillary to the story. Overall, a bust.
  • (4/5)
    Erotic chick lit murder mystery is how I would best describe this book...but...it's so much better than that sounds. :-) I found myself enjoying this book more than I thought I would...especially the erotic parts. ;-) Sure it includes erotic stories; but, there's also a solid plot woven in around the erotica & the erotic stories are just as multi layered as the characters telling them. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read that also touches on the themes of immigration, grief, family ties, the differences between the different generations of immigrants, gender roles in different cultures, & much more.
  • (5/5)
    I liked this book. It was serious without being too serious, and cute without being too cute. In other words it was perfect for summer reading. I will recommend it to all of the women I know. (Don't let the title scare you off. While there are some graphic scenes involving sex and vegetables, that's not the main theme of the book.)
  • (3/5)
    This was a bit outside of my normal realm of reading - I learned quite a bit about a culture and religion I was unfamiliar with but the bones of the story are not dissimilar to other things I've read. I enjoyed all of the characters and I loved their very human struggles and emotions, even when those things clashed against each other. There were a few twists in the story that I didn't expect, and I think the jacket copy has a huge red herring for the main thrust of the conflict in the story, but overall, I found this a very enjoyable read and definitely a compelling final 50 pages.I received an advance reader's copy of this book from the publisher as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
  • (2/5)
    I thought this would be light and funny, maybe kind of sexy, but none of the above. It's a little sad and slow-paced. It isn't terrible or anything, I just couldn't really get into it.
  • (4/5)
    The heroine of this novel is Nikki, who is a "modern girl" from a Sikh family. Her parents immigrated from the Punjab region of India. to London, where the story is set. Nikki is a bit of a rebel and has dropped out of law school and taken a job in a pub teetering on the brink of financial insolvency. She lives in a flat above the pub, which upsets her mom who thinks she should live at home. Her sister Mindi, a nurse, is more traditional . She lives at home and wants to enter into an arranged marriage. She asks Nikki to edit her marriage profile and post it on a community notice board at a Sikh temple in the Southall section of London, which is a sort of Little Punjab. Nikki reluctantly agrees to do this. When she does, she sees an ad for a creative writing instructor for women's classes at the Temple and decides to apply. When she gets the job, she learns that many of the widows who've enrolled are illiterate in English. They aren't really interested in learning English but just want to find a way to socialize. The class morphs into the women making up sexual fantasies, which are transcribed and shared. Nikki is surprised to learn that, though they may be illiterate, these widows know a lot about sex and enjoy having a safe place to talk about a taboo subject.The erotic fantasies the women tell and transcribe are similar to the raciest American romance novels. This is an immigrant story, similar to those of many other recent Bangladeshi and Indian novels. And sometimes it feels as it is paying homage to "Reading Lolita in Tehran." Nonetheless, it's a fun read with some of the women's stories interwoven with social commentary about first generation immigrants and their children, the pressure to conform to both parental and community expectations--especially as to proper behavior for widows, and living with xenophobia.I read an ARC which I won through the Early Reviewers program. This is one I'm glad I read.
  • (5/5)
    At first I thought I wasn't going to be able to get into this book because I know absolutely nothing about Indian immigrants in the UK especially Punjabis. But I really enjoyed this book because it had everything, mystery, love, comedy, and great erotic writing. This book has become a surprise favorite that I want to get in print!!
  • (4/5)
    Learning about the history and culture around arranged marriages.
  • (4/5)
    The first 2/3rds of this book are fantastic but the ending was rushed. I can live with that because the.widows made me laugh out loud on several occasions.
  • (4/5)
    This book is about Nikki and twenty-something year old who dropped out of law school, wanting to do something meaningful. She never felt passionate towards law, which her dad forced her to do. So, She starts “teaching” a writing class to a group of old, widowed, and conservative group of Punjabi women. Rather than learning to actually write, they start telling stories — really steamy, graphic, sexual stories. (You’d better not listen to this in public!!) I LOVE this book. The sexual scenes are only a small part of it. The book itself is so funny and heart-warming.
    The moral of the story seems to be overcoming cultural clashes (older generation vs. modern generation) and overcoming religious/social/cultural expectations. I learned more about Indian culture. I was kinda frustrated how women live such a limited life so it was a breath of fresh air to meet a character, Nikki who fights it. The difference between the old and modern generation was especially fun to read and I absolutely loved the mystery behind Maya’s death. The narrator does an amazing job with the different accents so I definitely recommend the audiobook! I