The Woman Who Knew Gandhi

A Novel
Author(s): Keith Heller
Original Publish Date: Jan 07, 2004
Product Number: EB00030489
Released: Jan 07, 2004
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780547346410
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A housewife in postwar England gets a letter that upends her life in this "enormously satisfying" novel (Elizabeth Berg, author of The Story of Arthur Truluv). In 1948, just after Gandhi's assassination, Martha Houghton receives a letter from the legendary man's son, who himself lies dying of tuberculosis in Bombay. Having found a stash of her letters to his father, he asks to meet her. The request sends Martha into a tailspin, for her husband knows nothing of her lifelong friendship with Gandhi. Martha and her husband, a retired ironmonger, are suddenly forced to reevaluate their long marriage, and she must find a way to reconcile the disparate halves of her life. Moreover, their small community becomes a magnet for the press, and Martha finds her words twisted and used against her. Ultimately, she must decide whether to meet her old friend's son on his deathbed, or to remain in England and mend the rift in her marriage. "Inspired by a line in Gandhi's autobiography, this 'what if' story recreates a half-century–long friendship between the celebrated Indian pacifist and an ordinary English housewife . . . Post-WWII England and India provide an evocative backdrop as Heller explores the fragile bonds between marriage partners, friends, parents and their children, and breathes realistic life into Gandhi and his improbable paramour." —Publishers Weekly "Illuminates little-seen corners of both history and the human heart . . . One of the most unusual love stories I have ever read." —Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and A House Among the Trees

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