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Tue September 25, 2012
Shauna Singh Baldwin Asks, "Where Are India's Missing Girls?" in New Novel
Editor's note: Audio for this story is pending.
One of the defining stories of India in the last fifteen years has been its ascent to becoming a worldwide economic power. That ascendancy has also shone a spotlight on some elements of Indian society - like its long-standing caste system, which made it a practical impossibility for millions of people to achieve upward mobility. But another part of the story of Indian society has remained largely under the radar in the west - and that is the country's strong bias toward men.
It's a bias that Milwaukee writer Shauna Singh Baldwin explores in her new novel, called The Selector of Souls. The book follows two characters from different social strata - one is a Hindu midwife; the other is an upper-middle class woman who flees an abusive marriage and seeks a life as a Catholic nun. It raises questions about India's attitudes towards women as it seeks to join the world's economic and military elite.
"I was exploring not just the economic pressures, but the legal pressures and the psychological pressures on women to 'choose' not to have girls," Baldwin explained to Lake Effect's Mitch Teich.
Baldwin also talked about why the timeframe - the book opens in the late 20th Century - was key to the story.
The book has just been published by Knopf in Canada, and is seeking an American publisher.