“There can be no vaulting over time,” thinks Urmila, the narrator of Shashi Deshpande’s profound and soul-stirring novel. “We have to walk every step of the way, however difficult or painful it is; we can avoid nothing.” After the death of her baby, Urmila finds her own path difficult to endure. But through her grief, she is drawn into the lives of two very different women—one her long-dead mother-in-law, a thwarted writer, the other a young woman who lies unconscious in a hospital bed. And it is through these quiet, unexpected connections that Urmi begins her journey toward healing.
The miracle of The Binding Vine, and of Shashi Deshpande's deeply compassionate vision, is that out of this web of loss and despair emerge strand of life and hope—a binding vine of love, concern, and connection that spreads across chasms of time, social class, and even death. In moving and exquisitely understated prose, Deshpande renders visible the extraordinary endurance and grace concealed in women's everyday lives.