Parul Kapur, "Inside the Mirror" (U Nebraska Press, 2024)


Parul Kapur's novel Inside the Mirror (University of Nebraska Press, 2024) centers on twin sisters growing up in 1950s Bombay, who aspire to become artists. The family is still recovering from the Partition of India in 1947, especially the twins’ grandmother, who once fought for justice against the British regime. One sister is supposed to study medicine, but she is a talented painter, and other studies education, but she is highly trained in a classical Hindu dance form called Bharata Natyam. They live in a Bengali community in which parents choose their daughters’ husbands and society demands conformity. Jaya’s paintings and Kamlesh’s dancing could destroy their chances of finding a good husband, ruin their father’s career, and affect the family’s standing in their community. Jaya moves out of the house, an aberration not only affects her medical schooling, but also disturbs the bond she has with her twin. This is a beautifully written novel about family, art, British colonialism, and coming of age in a time and place in which women could not easily choose their own paths.

Parul Kapur was born in Assam, India and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was seven. She received a BA in English Literature from Wesleyan University and an MFA from Columbia University. Returning to India, she worked for a year as a reporter for the city magazine Bombay, covering social issues, and culture and the arts. A journalist, literary critic and fiction writer, Parul was a press officer at the United Nations in New York and a freelance arts writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe, New York Newsday, ARTnews, and Art in America during a decade spent in Germany, France, and England. Her articles and reviews have also appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Esquire, GQ, Slate, Guernica, and Los Angeles Review of Books. Her short stories appear in Ploughshares, Pleiades, Prime Number, Midway Journal, Wascana Review, and the anthology {Ex}tinguished & {Ex}tinct. In 2010, she founded the Books page at ArtsATL, Atlanta’s leading online arts review, covering the literary scene for four years. She was also a co-founder of the global voices program, showcasing a diversity of authors, at the Decatur Book Festival, formerly the nation’s largest indie book festival. She created programs such as visits to collectors’ homes and artist studio visits for members of the High Museum in Atlanta.

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