Item description for The Virgin Goddess by Anjali Paul...
The Virgin Goddess is a meticulously researched story of a girl who was selected as the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu, Nepal at the age of four. A Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl who is worshipped as a living goddess until she begins to menstruate - unless she suffers an accident involving the loss of a large amount of blood, in which case she is replaced at that time. All being well, she is only deposed at puberty, when she rejoins her family - and society - as an ordinary girl, while another pre-pubescent girl takes her place as the living goddess. The prevailing trend is to de-mystify such ancient traditions - but this novel, which is the only one ever to have been written about this subject, exuberantly re-mystifies it, revealing a clear-eyed understanding of the deep spiritual knowledge which nourishes this cultural practice.
The heroine of The Virgin Goddess is called Archita Shakya. The novel tells the story of her life as the Kumari and her attempts to adjust to life afterwards. When she is deposed she returns to her family and acquires an education which is cut short during the pro-democracy struggles in Nepal of 1989-1990. Her marriage is arranged to a man who is murdered on their wedding night. She escapes from Kathmandu with the help of her childhood friend who facilitates her flight by arranging a new identity for her. On her escape journey she is robbed and left for dead. However, she survives (though she suffers temporary amnesia) and marries an English artist who does not know that she was the Kumari. He takes her to London with him. In England she attempts to make her mark as an artist, but is committed to a psychiatric hospital after her second husband dies. By the time she comes out she has lost her original identity completely.
While telling Archita Shakya's story the novel explores the impact of cultural background and conditioning, religion, power, and status on personal identity.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.82" Width: 5.98" Height: 1.5" Weight: 1.68 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2006
Publisher Kennedy & Boyd
ISBN 1904999247 ISBN13 9781904999249