Manju Kapur is a professor of English at Miranda House in Delhi. Having done her graduation from Miranda House, Manju did her MA in English from Dalhousie University in Canada. She further did M Phil from Delhi University. Her first novel, Difficult Daughters, received the Commonwealth Award for the Eurasian region. The book is set during India's independence struggle and is partially based on the life of Kapur's own mother, Virmati. Presently she is busy doing a project on "struggling with a novel based in both India and Canada, tentatively called The Immigrant. It's about an NRI marriage." She is a great woman and also happy that women's writing has come of age these days in India. She feels that women writers have many things to share with the people and they are always under pressure to express their own. According to her Indian women writers should get liberty to express their feeling to the readers.
'Difficult daughters' is a unique collection by Manju Kapur. The novel is beautifully written, with a story that is fascinating in so many ways. Spanning three generations, this story centers on a woman born at the turn of the 20th century into a Punjabi family. It tells of an illicit affair and its wider political and social implications as well as not least the bothered issue, for Indian women, of marriage versus education. The protagonist Virmati falls in love with a neighbor, the Professor who is already married. That the Professor eventually marries Virmati, installs her in his home and that too alongside with his furious first wife. He helps her towards further studies in Lahore, which is small consolation to her scandalized family. Or even to Virmati, who finds that the battle for her own independence has created irrevocable lines of partition and pain around her. The backdrop of the story is set in the real world not just a real place and time, but one that feels real, seeping out of the pages to envelope the reader. "Difficult Daughters" is a fascinating insight into many things such as into history, into a distant culture, but, most importantly, into human hearts and minds. This novel has the capability to touch human mind from the core point. Despite being set during the Indian Partition, this is not an overtly political novel. However, a surprising amount of information about Partition, the political crisis that literally tore apart a nation is imparted. After reading the book the reader will definitely feel the urge to know more about the culture as well as the scenario.
Being published by the different publishing houses like Faber and Faber, South Asia books, and others 'Different Daughters' is a great novel by Manju Kapur.