Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur is published by C Hurst and Co priced £ It is available from the Guardian. In , a young woman sailed from India to Guiana as a “coolie”—the British name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on. Coolie Woman. The Odyssey of Indenture. Gaiutra Bahadur. SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE ‘A genealogical page-turner interwoven with a.

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Oct 11, Janice Sheufelt rated it it was ok Shelves: Want to Read saving…. Library Journal Review Guyana-born U. Leaving for the colonies, was maybe a chance at a new life – even if this process was fraught with its own set of injustices and being taken advantage of. As Bahadur explains, however, it is precisely their sexuality that makes coolie women stand out as figures in history. As Bahadur clambers down the generations, coolei provides the reader with a meticulous and lushly detailed family memoir.

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Coolie Woman – Wikipedia

The desire, particularly for woman, to seek exile from their existing social predicaments- yet only to endure another form of subjugation all together- remains a constant focus for Bahadur.

Bahadur handles this history without compromise, imbuing it with prismatic context, wokan the true stories that can be told about the journeys that so many women undertook. The stories are gripping, one goes through a myriad of emotions at the plight of the subjects – admiration, sadness, outrage and frustration just a few among many more.

The woman, inventure claimed no husband, was pregnant and travelling alone. Dec 09, Matt Cappo rated it it was amazing. Nevertheless, there’s lots of good historical data and a strong bibliography to boot What is commendable about this book is the research done by the author in the quest for tracing her roots. She contextualizes historical and contemporary sexual and GBV in the context of indenture and colonialism, a worthwhile antidote to the racist discourse which Excellent book.


I haven’t read much about indentured labor in the British Empire but immediately want to after this book. This is a book that will soman be of great use to scholars and a compelling text for non-specialists.

Coolie Woman | Hurst Publishers

As while the author is focuses her research on Incenture stemming from her great-great-grandmother indenture from India to Guyana, it can be seen in other British Caribbean territories that received East Indian indenture immigrants.

Quotes from Coolie Woman: Nov 13, Ming rated it really liked it. History had left these women voiceless. South Asia Biography and Letters History: Bahadur’s family left the island, whereas most of mine still remain in Jamaica.

She also excavates the repressed history of some quarter of a million female coolies.

Make this your default list. If I had to say something, some spots could have used an edit as they can drag, but, as I have said, the information is worth the extra couple pages of labor. Aug 23, Andrew Otis rated it really liked it. Coolie Kdyssey is, as such, a speculative history. Still a very interesting read – even if it lacked the fabulous language promised in the first few pages. Examining this and many other facets of these remarkable women’s lives, Coolie Woman is a meditation on survival, a gripping story of a double diaspora–from India to the West Indies in one century, Guyana to the United States in the next–that is at once a search for one’s roots and an exploration of gender and power, peril and opportunity.

The particularities on Guyana were insightful, esp in relation to other Indo- communities within Caricom. Guyana from indenutre indentured laborers imported there by the Brits, but at a deeper level, its about the immigrants angst, the forging of a sense of identity thee the insightful clarity obtained when finally clear of the miasma-inducing haze.

The ship pulled in beside a floating lightship at the mouth of the Demerara river, its waters muddy with silt carried from the indentuge, a territory almost as undeveloped and lightly populated as when Raleigh explored.

Gaiutra Bahadur: ‘How could I write about women whose existence is barely acknowledged?’

So well researched and relayed. Good history here is a good read as well. The Hurst Publishers website uses cookies and other tracking technologies e. Clair, Port of Spain, Trinidad. Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies, disappeared into history. For all that it is trying to do, it is not a particularly hard read. Drawing from a notable range of pertinent primary and secondary sources, the work can definitely be used as a source of valuable corroborative details in both academic and nonacademic engagements with the Indian indenture system.


Thoroughly researched and superbly written.

I odsysey this book to be thought provoking and highly recommend it. Shunned by society, and sometimes in mortal danger, many coolie women were either runaways, widows, or outcasts.

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture

These questions allow me to imagine interiorities withheld by the written record. Return to Book Page. A lyric essay previewing her current book project, which explores the idea of America through its 20th-century entanglements with her home country, runs in the current issue of the Australian literary magazine The Griffith Review.

Carter, Marina 1 January Bahadur-speaking at the South Asia Literature Festival- was asked why the book was written oodyssey a form of narrative history rather than fiction.

The existing archives that document indenture contain biases and elisions. Kudos to the odysseu for having done an outstanding job at bringing to life the heart wrenching story of the coolies. New York, New York.

Those who wish to find romantic myths in the past to power deeply conservative ideas about the present, and the role of women in an imagined future, will find little to work with here. The stories are both poignant and horrific: Archived from the original on 3 March Bahudur’s longing curiosities about her ancestral past leaves a notable personal imprint on the page. Outside the USA, see pdyssey international sales information.