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Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

A Novel
Written by: Balli Kaur Jaswal
Narrated by: Meera Syal
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (217 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

What the critics say

"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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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AMAZING

It’s been a bit since a book has completely captured my attention. This book.. it’s just marvellous. I highly recommend it to anyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Pass

Speaking is very slow and irritating, and it’s weird to listen to audio erotica. Pass.

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Warrior Women...a risky and inspiring novel

I absolutely loved this book! A true reminder that women have the power to build and inspire other women to be better, stronger, successful and happier.

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Gripping book! Can’t stop listening this story has everything! Love, sex and murder mystery!

Loved this book, the storytelling was amazing and the performance was fantastic sometimes I felt the widows were right there with me. Fantastic!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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beautifully written! its family, romance & mystery

loved this book, great page Turner full of beautiful detail inspiring romantic with erotic flare! deffinately whisks readers away to another world.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Audible never disappoints

Loved this story. I bought the audible so that I could finish this book in time for a book club meeting. The reading of this book made it that much more enjoyable. #Audible1

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Opens your mind

Not what you would expect of Punjabi widows, but why not! We are all more alike than we are different. Thank you #audible1 for making all the popular novels available for busy people that enjoy books but don’t have time to read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Fun, Whimsy, Mystery and Intrigue!

This book, well read by the author, is a delight. It was enjoyable through every part, and despite having some heavy material remained easy to listen to. It was also a great insight into the lives of immigrants in England (and around the world) and to some of the wonderful and changing bits of Indian culture. Worth the listen! #Audible1

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A great light read!

A great light read, perfect for vacation. Made me laugh out loud more than once. A little racier than I was expecting lol. The Indian 50 Shades of Grey ;) #Audible1

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great narrative. captivating story!

I couldn't stop listening. The story is so well written and entertaining that I was caught off guard several times laughing it loud in public. Heat warming and funny, suspenseful and erotic. This book had it all. I highly recommend this book!

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  • Gretchen SLP
  • 2018-09-20

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.

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • j phillips
  • 2018-04-02

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

46 of 51 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms P Kelly
  • 2017-06-26

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.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful

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  • Desteny
  • 2018-04-12

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!!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Mia
  • 2017-07-11

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.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • mary Pree
  • 2018-01-11

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.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • umaybeme
  • 2017-08-13

Cute & Saucy

What a delightful erotic story. Full of humor and intrigue. Yes, explicit bits, but done in quite good taste. Books like this could make erotica mainstream.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lexy
  • 2018-07-28

A Lovely and Informative Glimpse

I almost returned this book because the beginning seemed a bit "cute" and gossipy but, I am glad I persevered.
The story gets going and, though I am not a big fan of erotica, the story defends its role in society well.
Most of all, I appreciated the glimpse into the pros and cons of a conservative society set in a liberal culture and the need and willingness of the characters to grow and make space for new and existing ideas and beliefs in order to create balance and justice in themselves and in their society.
The narrator is, to my western ears, very good at the Punjabi accents. Her "male" voices are not very likable to me, but she was always very clear with creating an easy to follow audio, inflecting emotion but not so much that it seemed pushy.
I would totally recommend this story and performance to anyone interested in knowing more about the Punjabi culture and the power struggle between people who love each other.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • 3muttmom
  • 2019-05-27

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Magdalena Julkowska
  • 2017-10-14

Great read

I loved the plot and how the author took her turn on liberalizing ladies in the London Indian community by giving the narrative to the widows. Loads of interesting ideas packaged neatly into an easy read / listen sessions.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful