The Toss of a Lemon

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Product Details

$18.00  $16.56
Vintage Books Canada
Publish Date
March 10, 2009
6.1 X 9.05 X 1.35 inches | 0.01 pounds
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About the Author

Padma Viswanathan is a fiction writer, playwright and journalist from Edmonton, Alberta. Her writing awards include residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Banff Playwrights' Colony, and first place in the 2006 Boston Review Short Story Contest. She received her Creative Writing MA from Johns Hopkins and her MFA from the University of Arizona, and lives with her family in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


"Her narrative, refreshingly, is free of anachronism, and she has a pleasing way of engaging the reader's senses....Of a piece with the recent works of Vikram Seth, and reminiscent at times of Garcรญa Mรกrquez-altogether a pleasure."
-Kirkus (starred review)

"What Viswanathan does remarkably well is give the reader a closeup of India's history, culture, politics and landscape through the domestic lens of one family. This is a rich, sensual book that uses life itself as its plot....Reading it is an experience of immersion. You feel as though you are right there in all the teeming detail of life as Sivakami and her family know it. There is a whole world here between two covers."
-National Post

"With its rich and complex background and often sharp insights, The Toss of a Lemon is a valuable and evocative work."
-Elaine Kalman Nave, author of Robert Weaver: Godfather of Canadian Literature (Ottawa Citizen)

"Astonishing. Brilliant. Beautiful....Like the very best novels, at its core, The Toss of A Lemon teaches us about ourselves."
-January Magazine

"Lovers of Rohinton Mistry and Vikram Seth will want to get a hold of this Brahmin family saga involving early marriage, early widowhood and clashing values."
-The Vancouver Sun

"The Toss of a Lemon is a captivating novel that in relating the story of one Indian woman and her family tells the story of a changing society. Precisely and deftly written, constantly interesting, morally serious yet sympathetic-I challenge any reader to start reading this book and give up on it. The Toss of a Lemon joins the company of great novels on India."
-Yann Martel

"The Toss of a Lemon is a glorious feat, as boisterously written as it is wholly engrossing. It's about love - and cruelty - and how each reverberate across the generations in one family. And it is that rare thing, a novel that manages to be both epic and intimate at the same time."
-Peter Orner, author of The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo

"In this, her debut novel, Padma Viswanathan performs a wondrous balancing act of words. She sustains a vivid sense of the moment while spanning decades, brings unforgettable individual characters to life while recounting a saga of generations, and lays bare the inner worlds of those characters while evoking an entire nation in turmoil. Rich with sensual detail, The Toss of a Lemon is the story of a community centred on tradition during an era of upheaval and change. Above all, it is a moving and deftly drawn portrait of a family."
-Alissa York, Giller-nominated author of Effigy

"The Toss of a Lemon gives readers the rare opportunity to enter the life of a Brahmin widow, to live her norms and routines and rituals as they have been lived by countless women over thousands of years. Padma Viswanathan's remarkable achievement is to capture the slow, stately pace of an 8,000-year-old culture and yet keep her story moving briskly. I closed the book indebted for this immersion in a world I could not have otherwise entered."
-Shyam Selvadurai, author of Funny Boy