Miss Timmins' School for Girls
by Nayana Currimbhoy
A dazzling debut novel set in India during the monsoon of 1974, Miss Timmins’ School for Girls tells the story of a conventional young girl who leaves her cloistered small town home to teach at a remote boarding school run by British Missionaries.
An intense, irreverent love story and a dark murder mystery, Miss Timmins’ School for Girls is also a coming of age novel set at the confluence of three great cultures: the heroine’s conservative, middle class Brahmin family, the British Colonial universe of the boarding school, and the rock 'n' roll, drugs, free love philosophy of the 1970s, filtered to this small corner of India.
At Miss Timmins’ School for Girls, the young Charu finds herself in a school that is still run like an outpost of the Empire, with Scottish dancing, scripture studies, and porridge for breakfast. By day Charu shares shrewsberry biscuits and tea with the school’s British missionaries and teaches Shakespeare to a hothouse of privileged Indian girls; by night she finds herself drawn to the troubled and charismatic Moira Prince—a fellow teacher harboring secrets of her own—and her pot smoking hippie friends.
Then one monsoon night a teacher is murdered, and the ordered world of the school and the town—peopled by colonial-era eccentrics, small-town gossips, and hippie misfits—is thrown into chaos. Charu finds herself implicated in the murder—and suddenly her real education begins.
Nayana Currimbhoy was raised in India where she attended an all-girls boarding school in a fairly remote hill station. She moved to the U.S. in the early eighties, and has been a businesswoman and a freelance writer. She has written books, film scripts, and articles about many things, including architecture and design, and a biography of India Gandhi. This is her first novel. Nayana lives in New York City with her husband, an architect, and their teenage daughter.
The Queer Book Club was founded who knows how many years ago by two Smith grads, new in town and hoping to meet women. Since then, we've met many smart queers of various genders, read heaps of books, laughed a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We read books by and/or about queers: classics, contemporary and genre fiction, graphic novels, non-fiction, memoirs, plays, and poetry. We convene the third Wednesday of the month at 7 PM. After our discussion of the book chosen for the month, we adjourn to a local watering hole for socializing. Join us, even if you didn't get around to reading the book--you never know who you might meet!