Saffron and Silk: An Australian in India

by Benjamin, Anne;

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Saffron and Silk: An Australian in India

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Saffron and Silk opens with a wedding between two unlikely lovers: a handsome thirty-something Indian-born development worker and a thirty-something Catholic academic from Sydney. The bride has left the predictability of her life in Australia to marry and live in the South Indian city of Chennai. Throughout Saffron and Silk, readers enter into the bride’s new family and their Kerala origins and into some of the rich culture of Tamil legends and history. She shares her struggles and frustrations as a ‘foreign wife’ and her insights into both the domestic minutiae of everyday life and the macro challenges of poverty.

These stories are all set within the annual cycle of religious feasts and festivals around which life in India turns. The author discovers a famous relative who was close to Mahatma Gandhi during the important years of emerging Indian nationalism. The death in custody of a man, a former member of parliament, just a few months after the author had met him, hints at some of the darker elements of India.

At the heart of the story is the pogrom sparked by the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984. The horrors of this time are re-lived and the author’s perspective reveals much about the complexity of modern India. This is set against another story of tension when the accidental death of one of the author’s colleagues results in threats to her and her husband. 

The author concludes the book with stories of more domestic matters – motherhood, women and travel. The author has a direct connection with every story in this book and she uses her personal experience to explore larger issues of India’s culture and history, making Saffron and Silk a personal insider story of some of the treasures and dilemmas of a country that is increasingly significant to other western countries.


Saffron and Silk: An Australian in India was published by David Lovell Publishing in December 2017. The ISBN for Saffron and Silk: An Australian in India is 9781863551717.

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Details for Saffron and Silk: An Australian in India

PublisherDavid Lovell Publishing (December 2017)
Thickness14 mm
Height234 mm
Width156 mm
Product Code4547988
Page last updated 13th March 2018
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