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The Bandit Queens cover art

The Bandit Queens

By: Parini Shroff
Narrated by: Shazia Nicholls
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Summary

In rural India, an isolated woman falsely accused of killing her vanished husband becomes an unwilling consultant to other aspiring widows.

In rural India, Geeta is believed to have killed her vanished husband—but she hasn't wasted too much time trying to correct the record, because as a single woman her new reputation has been the one thing keeping her safe all these years. Still, she's paid a price. She's an outcast in her town, estranged from her childhood best friend, Saloni, and from the rest of the women in her microloan group. But that all changes when another member of the group approaches Geeta with a problem of her own. Farah's husband, Samir, is an abusive drunk and she's ready to be rid of him, so she asks Geeta for help, appealing to her expertise. Not wanting to reveal the truth, Geeta reluctantly agrees, but this one small murderous favour sets in motion a chain of events that will change everything—and not just for Geeta, but for Saloni, and Farah, and all the women in their village.

In darkly irreverent and fresh prose, this unforgettable feminist revenge thriller acknowledges the unfortunate status quo for women everywhere, and shows that female connections and friendships are what will carry us through the darkness and absurdity of life.

©2023 Parini Shroff (P)2023 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about The Bandit Queens

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    3 out of 5 stars

Glad Phoolan Devi's life is being told

I feel like an outlier, not singing the praises of this book, like the other reviewers. The themes of the book are very real and true. There are still many many women experiencing such stigma. I have sadly witnessed these practices, so I found the ending predictable and also satisfying. if only it was this easy to go murdering paedophilic, drunk wife beating rapists and get away with it. in that sense its good fiction.

My issues with the book, comical caricatures of characters. Awful pronunciation of Hindi words. So cringe. Why not get someone who can say the words correctly. Also the dialogue, is not at all how village women speak, style or words used. My grandmother was from a small poor, northern Hindu village, it just didn't feel realistic to me. Perhaps, I'm too close to the culture to be objective. I felt narrative was tortured and also polished into something we can understand.

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9 people found this helpful

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Had me gripped from start to finish

I loved everything about this book - the strong characters, the fabulous plot lines, the hilariously black humour. It was read beautifully. I’m recommending it to everyone I meet.

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3 people found this helpful

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Loved the ride

A tale of twists and turns, weaving real history in with fiction and blending tradition with modern living and ideals. Relatable protagonist, characters to love and hate, and plenty of plot. A coming of age journey to feminism and self-knowing, throwing some satisfying punches at patriarchy. Loved the narrator, I could listen to her all day.

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2 people found this helpful

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Loved Bandit Queens

Such a well written story with rich characters and lots of humour throughout. Really enjoyed the story from beginning to end and the loved the narrator, she was excellent. Such a great audiobook!

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1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful

Captivating and fun story reflecting on the importance of sisterhood. Really enjoyable and funny whilst also exploring important issues of domestic abuse, misogyny and social exclusion. I loved it.

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I will be recommending this to everyone

made me laugh a lot , also surprised angered and educated me too .Great story of sisterhood .I will recommend this to everyone

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1 person found this helpful

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So good!

This was an excellent book - fascinating details and a vivid, pacy plot. I loved it.

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1 person found this helpful

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I loved this!

I was lucky enough to read this in India.

The women, especially Gita and Saloni are complex, resourceful and people I would want to be friends with.

The story was nuanced and gripping and the narration excellent.

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Loved

This is such a brilliant book. I chose it as it’s on the Women’s Prize long list. I’m thinking this has to make the short list! It’s so well written. It manages to be dark, gritty, alongside funny and feel good. I couldn’t stop listening, but didn’t want it to end. Real fan of this one!

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Riveting. I loved it!

Earning its place on the longlist for 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction, this book is a darkly funny story of women finding power in a patriarchal society.

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1 person found this helpful