Book Notification

Parini Shroff Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Bandit Queens (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Parini Shroff
Parini Shroff got her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied under Cristina Garcia, Elizabeth McCracken, and Alexander Chee. She is a practicing attorney that lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The Bandit Queens” started out as a short story. While visiting her dad and the rest of her family in India, they took a day trip out to this village where her dad was involved in mico-financing this women’s loan group. To these women, loans were a buoy and a boon that offered independence and life. This money lent them agency, so long as the men around them allowed it. And when they sat in on the meeting, and they heard the women do their weekly oath because they were able to make the repayment, Parini knew she was part of something very special. Because she knew she was observing something unique. So Farah and Geeta came up right after this meeting back in 2013.

Parini, who practices law part time, eventually found in 2020 (during the pandemic) that she was ready to turn her short story into a full length novel. It was then that her other characters came to her, and she was able to visualize where the book would go.

Writing the book during the pandemic served as a cozy bolt hole during these grim times where she, like so many others, missed her friends deeply. Once the ensemble cast of women characters had been drawn, there wasn’t any stopping these rambunctious women. Isolated, they felt powerless, however together, the strong bonds of their female friendship made the impossible achievable, suddenly. It was here that she realized that the core of the novel is not about what money can do, but about what friendship is able to do.

Each day, she loved returning to these fierce and sassy women and their escalating antics. It’s her hope that her readers feel just as heartened when you join in their world. They embody so many of the traits that Parini admires in the women all around her: clever, kind, unapologetic, generous, insightful, strong, and plain fun.

The novel also incorporates the true story of a woman that led a gang in India, named Phoolan Devi, and became known as a Robin Hood like figure for helping women and punishing rapists, ultimately gaining the nickname of “The Bandit Queen”.

Parini was very wary of including Phoolan’s story, though. She feels like she can’t remember a time when she didn’t hear the story about her legend and her myth, but she was also a woman and a person and she wanted to pay her the homage she was due. She wanted to draw attention to the woman’s story. Parini wanted to spark the curiosity which would possibly lead people down their own path to learn more about this woman as well as women in general. So many adaptations of her life story have been produced without the woman’s consent, and Parini’s fear was that she’d join all of these people that invoke her name for their own game, rather than to honor her.

She needed Phoolan’s story to inspire Geeta. Because Geeta’s an outcast. People believe these rumors about her aren’t true, yet she is still ostracized. She is so lonely, that Parini felt that in order for her to be able to get up every single day, and live her life, even just to show her face in her village, she had to pull from some sort of power source, some larger-than-life character, and Phoolan seemed to be an organic fit for Geeta to pull from. She only wanted to honor Phoolan’s legacy and the work that she did after she became an activist after being released from jail.

“The Bandit Queens” was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick 2023 and longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023.

“The Bandit Queens” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2023. This young woman finds the fake rumors that she murdered her husband surprisingly useful, up until the other women in the village begin asking for her help getting rid of their own husbands, in a razor sharp debut.

Geeta lost her no good husband, five years ago. Meaning she lost him for real, he just walked out on her and she’s got no clue where he could be. However in her remote village in India, rumor has it that she killed him. And the rumor just will not go away. Turns out that being known as a “self-made” widow comes with a few perks. Nobody messes with her, or attempts to control (marry her, more like) her. It has even been good for business; since nobody dares to not buy her jewelry.

Freedom has to look pretty good on her, because other women are now asking her for her “expertise”, making her this unwitting consultant for husband disposal. And not all of them ask her nicely.

With her dangerous reputation becoming this double edged sword, she must figure out a way to protect the life she has built, however even the best laid plans of would be widows do tend to go awry. What happens next sets off a series of events which is going to change everything, not only for Geeta, but also for all of the women in their village.

Filled with second chances, clever criminals, and witty and wry females, this is a razor sharp debut novel of heart and humor which readers will not quickly forget.

This novel isn’t just a humorous novel, but also tackles serious issues like love, childlessness, love, abuse of all sorts, and most important of all, women’s rights. Fans of the book loved watching Geeta’s confidence continue to build over the course of the book while she sought to improve both her own lot in life, but that of other women as well. It was a character rich and wonderful story, with the women characters being fleshed out well. Parini does a fantastic job of placing her readers in this tiny Indian village, with a mix of caste delineation, customs, language, and folklore.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Parini Shroff

Leave a Reply