Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: English
Translated from: English
Authors: Gowda, Shilpi Somaya
Translated by: Žalytė, Danguolė
Full translated source bibliographical description:

Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Secret Daughter. William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2010.

ISBN: (Lietuvių) 978-609-01-0252-7
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2012
Publisher: Alma littera

The story begins in 1984, India, Dahanum city. A poor woman Kavita is yet again pregnant with a girl in a country, where only boys matter. A girl will not be able to work, will be just another mouth to feed and will require a dowry later in life. That’s why Kavita’s husband Jasu is not happy when he sees the newborn. Kavita’s first baby girl was lost immediately after birth to infanticide, so she couldn’t let that happen again. She decides to travel to Bombay and leave her at an orphanage. Before leaving her, she names the baby Usha and clasps a little silver bracelet onto her ankle.

At the same time in San Francisco, California, a young woman named Somer and an Indian man named Krishnan are trying to have kids. But after many unsuccessful tries, Somer decides to see a doctor and see what’s wrong. The results are shocking – she will never be able to have kids. The only solution is adoption and that’s what they decide to do. Krishnan’s family helps them find a girl in an Indian orphanage. When she grows up, she starts to wonder who her real parents are and what her homeland is like. And then she gets an opportunity to visit India…

The story is told through three main characters – two mothers and a daughter. Gowda perfectly describes both sides of the adoption, as well as the cultural challenges. The writer discusses such topics like female infanticide, gender discrimination, poverty in India, difficulties with interracial marriage that Somer and Krishnan face. But the main topic of the novel is motherhood – endless love and sacrifice for children.

Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born in 1970 in Canada, raised by parents who had emigrated from India. ‘Secret Daughter’ is her debut novel. She found inspiration for it while working in an Indian orphanage while she was in college. It has become an international bestseller, selling over 1 million copies worldwide, and has been translated into 24 languages.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU