“[Swamy’s] prose is so assured . . . The Archer dazzles as it asks: How does a woman remain an artist?” —The New York Times Book Review
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FINALIST FOR THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
In this original and transfixing novel, Vidya comes of age in 1960s- and 1970s-era Bombay, her childhood marked by the shattering absence and then the bewildering reappearance of her mother and baby brother at the family home. Restless, observant, and longing for connection with her brilliant and increasingly troubled mother, Vidya one day peeks into a classroom where girls are learning kathak, a dazzling, centuries-old dance form that requires the utmost discipline and focus. Her pursuit of artistic transcendence and escape through kathak soon becomes the organizing principle of her life, even as she leaves home for college and falls in complicated love with her best friend. As the uncertain future looms, she must confront the tensions between romance, art, and the legacy of her own imperfect mother.
Lyrical and deeply sensual, Shruti Swamy’s The Archer is a bold portrait of a singular woman striving toward life as an artist while navigating desire, duty, and the limits of the body. It is also an electrifying and utterly immersive story about the transformative power of art, and the possibilities that love can open when we’re ready.