Alka Joshi discusses her book and the art of writing.
The Henna Artist is a vivid and compelling portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, opening a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.
Escaping from an arranged and abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone from her 1950s rural village to the vibrant pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the henna artist—and confidante—most in demand to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened.
Alka Joshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Henna Artist, is a graduate of Stanford University and received her M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts. She has worked as an advertising copywriter, a marketing consultant and an illustrator. Joshi was born in India, in the state of Rajasthan. Her family came to the United States when she was nine, and she now lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with her husband and two misbehaving pups. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is her second novel. Visit her website and blog at thehennaartist.com