Publication Information: New York: Penguin Group, 1954 ISBN 0451168364
Suggested Module/Thematic Use: Religion & Spirituality
Author Biography: Kamala Markandaya is known as a “commonwealth
author.” She was born in Bangalore, India in 1924 as a Brahmin
(the highest caste of traditional Hindu society), but at the
age of 24, she moved to England. While she has lived her entire
adult life in England she has visited India frequently.
Summary: Nectar in a Sieve is the story of an Indian woman’s life from
her marriage and the start of her own family while still at
a young age to the eviction from her land and the death of
her husband. Although her situation often seems hopeless,
her spirit remains positive allowing her to rise above her
poverty, the oppression of the English, and the solitude she
deals with as her family leaves home for “better” job opportunities.
Target Audience: High School (vocabulary is not challenging;
however, underlying ideas require patience and willingness
to take on different ways of thinking).
Length: 190 pages
Commentary: An issue that may be of concern in the classroom is that two
characters in the novel resort to prostitution in order to
avoid starvation. Another sensitive issue is that of adultery;
Nathan has an affair with a married neighbor prior to his
marriage to Rukmani. Through this affair, Nathan has two