Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Booking a Trip to Goa 3 - Goa; A Daughter's Story

Part 3 of the originally single essay that appeared in the December issue of See Goa.

Goa: A Daughter’s Story

There were demands when Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy appeared in the bookstores, that it be sold with a statutory warning for those with weak wrists. A similar warning should be issued when recommending Goa: A Daughter’s Story for a read; the book is not as heavy as A Suitable Boy, but it still is one ferociously heavy tome!

Written by Maria Aurora Couto, when the book first came out in paperback, it proved to the world that there was a market for serious writing on Goa. It also sent every Goan bigname scurrying to the bookstore to figure if their family name figured in it (and Gip’s critique of Goan society was proved right!). It sold like hot cakes and that it has subsequently been reissued in paperback is a testament to its readability.

On the surface, A Daughter’s Story begins as the story of a daughter, namely Aurora, speaking of her father, who she clearly adored, and in later pages of her mother, by all accounts a strong woman. The book goes beyond this realm though and details the passionate relationship that Aurora has with her motherland as well. It documents the story of her relationship with the land and its waters, her arrival as the wife of an IAS officer soon after the Indian police action in 1961 that united Goa to the Indian Union. If Gip on the one hand was inordinately critical of the empty intellectual lives of his contemporaries, Couto exalts the same society for the manner in which it embraced intellectual currents from the West, the ideals of the French Revolution, the Enlightenment, and incarnated them within Goan society. A Daughter’s Story is a wonderful way to engage with some of the debates that have seized Goan minds and will continue to dominate some of their conversations for a while.

Available in entirety at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought you hated this book