Simple Summaries

The Lady from Lucknow

Bharati Mukherjee

Simple Summary by Sarah Frank

·      “When I was four, one of the girls next door fell in love with a Hindu. Her father intercepted a love note from the boy, and beat her with his leather sandals”

·      Narrator’s dad is army doctor and “wanted to protect us from the Hindus' shameful lust.”

·      “At seventeen I married a good man, the fourth son of a famous poet-cum-lawyer in Islamabad” = Iqbal

o  “We expect to pass on this good, decent life to our children. Our children are ashamed of the dingy cities where we got our start”

·      Iqbal believes Americans are sex-crazy

·      “It isn't trouble that I want, though I do have a lover. He s an older man, an immunologist with the Center for Disease Control right here in town. He comes to see me when Iqbal is away at high-tech conferences in sunny, remote resorts.” = James

o  “Iqbal owns no firearms. Jealousy would inflame him. Besides, Iqbal would never come home in the middle of the day. Not even for his blood pressure pills”

o  “I met James Beamish at a reception for foreign students on the Emory University campus. Iqbal avoids these international receptions because he thinks of them as excuses for looking back when we should be looking forward”

·      “Wives who want to be found out will be found out. Indiscretions are deliberate. The woman caught in mid-shame is a woman who wants to get out. The rest of us carry on.”

·      “Iqbal and I are sensual people, but secretive. The openness of James Beamish's advance surprised me.”

·      Not worried about the neighbors because he doesn’t look like a lover

o  “Adultery in my house is probably no different, no quieter, than in other houses in this neighborhood.”

·      “Afterwards it wasn't guilt I felt (guilt comes with desire not acted), but wonder that while I'd dashed out Tuesday night and bought myself silky new underwear, James Beamish had worn an old T-shirt and lemon-pale boxer shorts. Perhaps he hadn't planned on seducing a Lucknow lady that afternoon”

·      “When we were together, I felt cherished. I only played at being helpless, hysterical, cruel. When James left, I'd spend the rest of the afternoon with a Barbara Pym novel”

·      James also has a wife: Kate

·      At James’s house—“Real intimacy, at last. The lust of the winter months had been merely foreplay. I felt at home in his house, in spite of the albums of family photographs on the coffee table and the brutish metal vulvas sculpted by a daughter in art school and stashed in the den”

·      “Love on the decline is hard to tell from love on the rise. I have lived a life perched on the edge of ripeness and decay. The traveller feels at home everywhere, because she is never at home anywhere.”

·      His wife got back a little too early so James tells the narrator to get into the bathroom but she refused

o  “Submissive by training”

o  “So I was in bed with the quilt at my feet, and James was by the dresser buttoning his shirt when Kate Beamish stood at the door”

·      Kate is weirdly calm about it??

o  “"I'm definitely the jealous kind," Kate Beamish said. "I might have stabbed you if I could take you seriously. But you are quite ludicrous lounging like a Goya nude on my bed." She gave a funny little snort.”

o  “I was just another involvement of a white man in a pokey little outpost, something that "men do' and then come to their senses”

·      James sometimes calls