Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

A Novel
Narrated by: Meera Syal
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6,539 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women's lives at all ages - a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life....

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she's spent most of her 20-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected - and exciting - kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community's "moral police". But when the widows' gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife - a modern woman like Nikki - and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

©2017 Balli Kaur Jaswal (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Meera Syal is a wonderful choice as narrator because her British accent and mastery of an ironic tone make the most of the lively descriptions and Nikki's sardonic interior monologues.... For those who are unfamiliar with Sikh culture or this part of London, this is an informative and entertaining listening experience." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Good Read

This was a fun read, and I’m glad I noticed it and picked it up. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining book without anything dense, heavy or demanding. This isn’t great literature, but it’s educational as well as enjoyable. I learned a lot about Punjabi culture and the Sikh religion, which was an unexpected benefit. I also loved the mystery central to one of the storylines, about the unexplained deaths of three young women in the Sikh community, one of them in particular very close to two of the characters. I am a sucker for a suspenseful page-turner. The one thing that didn’t ring fully true to me was the hyperfocus on sex among the widows. Being middle-aged myself, and having had a lot of female friends who are middle-aged, postmenopausal or senior, it didn’t seem likely that sex would be ALL these women thought about and all they wanted to talk about or write about. For one thing, many of these women had been married off by their families as prepubescent children, some as young as ten years old, to much older men they didn’t know, much less love, so their earliest sexual encounters had been essentially horribly traumatic rapes. It hasn’t been my experience that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have the kind of gleeful, giggling, girlish obsession with sexual passion and sensual delights that these characters demonstrate. Also: Was there really nothing more these women would have been dying to say, once they were in a protected environment where it was safe to relate their feelings about their lives, their pasts, their families, their community, and their hopes and dreams? I thought it would have been a more realistic novel, as well as a more rich and enlightening novel, if there had been.

Grade: B or B+
Bechdel Test: Pass.

60 people found this helpful

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4.31 stars......a story about stories

The title of this novel is genius. It immediately catches the reader's eye. However, this is much more than a few erotic short stories. This is a novel about short stories and the power of them. This is a novel about women. This is a novel about oppression. I could go on and on because this is a novel about many things. I put it in the same category as Eleanor Oliphant, which I also enjoyed a lot. The narration is great. The story is great. I do recommend.

Overall rating: 4.31 stars

52 people found this helpful

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Funny and insightful

Learning about other cultures, our differences and similarities is such a pleasure. This books brings such life to the Sikh community - the good and the bad- like all communities there are different points of view and constant change.
The stories and the telling of the stories brought life to the characters and to women's fantasies in such a sensual way.
Meera Syal also does a fantastic job at narration - the perfect choice for the juxtaposition between the English and Punjabi perspectives and language.
Such fun and warmth. Thankyou for a wonderful book.

43 people found this helpful

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Great story with THE BEST narration!

I did enjoy the story. However, this is the first audiobook I've read (and I've read alot) where the narration should have more stars than the story! It was perfect!!

21 people found this helpful

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Very Entertaining and Enjoyable Listen

How could anyone resist a book with that title? I couldn't, that's for sure!

I enjoyed this listen very much. I really appreciated the humor. If humor is mostly what you are looking for, don't expect alot of laugh out-loud moments. The humor is ever-present but it is just a bit more subtle. I loved the way Nikki's job morphed from a Creative Writing class to a basic English Writing/Reading class to an Erotic Short Story class--all the while with Nikki standing good-naturedly by, trying to do the right thing but also wanting to have fun with her new job. I don't want to say too much about the story-line for fear of adding spoilers. There is a great description by Audible and you should read that--it is all true.

The characters are well-developed, believable, and interesting. Learning of this new-to-me culture was educational and fun. I really enjoyed the narration. Meera Syal did a wonderful job, adding to the listening pleasure.

So, I would recommend this audiobook enthusiastically and I wouldn't hesitate to read another book by this author, Balli Kaur Jaswal.

5 people found this helpful

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Light read with depth

This book was very different for a light read. Not only did I learn much about the Punjabi culture, enjoyed the progressive side of all of the women. Much to learn from the wisdom of our elders and much to learn from youth. All cultures have this commonality. I also appreciated the reader’s attention to different voices. The erotics parts were well done and good for the soul ;)!!!

5 people found this helpful

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Eat pray love blended with Shantaram with a dose of Bridget Jones

One of my favorite books of all time. Unlike other Indian fiction these days. It is heartwarmingly heartbreakingly authentic including slang. For reference: Sat Siri Akal is a greeting which means "May you have a long blessed life". It is a listen you don't want to miss.

18 people found this helpful

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Excellent

I loved this. Thought it was absolutely brilliant and poetically written. The characters were rich and loveable and fun to listen to. The stories...oh man the STORIES. Passionate, beautiful, honest...made my heart skip a beat sometimes. I powered through this, found myself wrapped into the drama and the beauty. This isn't just a good book, but an important one. Women need support like these, stories like this that empower them and tell the painful stories. This kind of honesty is so necessary for us to be heard and understood. I want every woman to read this.

5 people found this helpful

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A great read

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the story and of course the stories. The reader was really good. I would listen to other books read by her.

12 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t get through it

I bought the book because the title was so funny, and I expected a story about cultural differences and generational struggles and misunderstandings. I thought it would be light, somewhat humorous and interesting. But the sexual stories are so graphic, I was surprised and uncomfortable. And it just went on and on. Too much for me. I gave up halfway through.

5 people found this helpful