Book Review: The Temple is Not My Father by Rasana Atreya

The Temple is Not My Father

 About the Book:

Ensnared by a tradition hundreds of years old, a woman fights for her daughter’s happiness.

From the author of 'Tell A Thousand Lies,' which was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award. UK's Glam magazine calls 'Tell A Thousand Lies' one of their 'five favourite tales from India.'

If you like Rohinton Mistry or Shilpi Somaya Gowda,you might like this short story of 40 pages.


  • File Size: 442 KB

  • Print Length: 58 pages

  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

  • Language: English

  • ASIN: B00LQE95FU

  • Price: INR 49 (I got mine as a review copy)

About the Author:

Rasana is the author of Amazon bestseller 'Tell A Thousand Lies', which was also shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award. UK’s Glam magazine calls this novel one of their five favourite tales from India (June 2014). Her other works are 'The Temple Is Not My Father' and '28 Years A Bachelor'.

Now on to more personal stuff – Rasana would like to be able to tell her readers that she once stopped a robbery single-handedly, except she’s terrified of robbers. And geckos. And two-year-olds who throw tantrums. When she’s not running scared, she’s mother to a girl and a boy who were respectively six and eleven years-old when they wrote and illustrated 'The Mosquito and the Teapot'. She lives with her husband and children in Hyderabad, India, where a lot of her stories are set.


Rasana Atreya’s novella, The Temple is Not My Father, does not take one much time to read – but the story resonates in your mind long after. The story begins on one day when the protagonist, Godavari’s daughter, Sreeja asks her innocently about marriage, Sreeja’s father and the temple.
Eight-year-old Sreeja doesn’t understand why if her mother is married to the temple, the temple couldn’t be her father.

In their lonely existence comes two girls, who turns out to be Sreeja’s second cousins.

The long short story or the novella mostly deals with the relationships these women develop with one another and the narrowmindedness of the society that we take pride to be a part of. Godavari’s story makes you wonder about the devdasi system – how it had begun so many hundreds of years ago where there was the concept of the public and private women, and what those high statuses are reduced to right now.

Set in the small forgotten town, the story manages to stir you up and ponder about the position of women in the world even today. The climax of the story is heartbreaking but beautifully written.

The Temple is Not My Father ends before it can properly answer a lot of questions. I had to flip back and re-read the last few pages a fair few times before I could draw my conclusions. I believe that is precisely what Rasana Atreya had been aiming at. The silence in her story is left to the reader’s imagination.

Over all, I really enjoyed reading the novella – with its well fleshed out characters and detailed narration about the rituals and rites followed in the devdasi system. 


 This review is written as part of the India Readathon.