In Delhi a small baby lies alone and abandoned. The product of IVF and surrogacy, she had been so coveted - until she was born with a fatal illness. No one knows how the infection could have been transferred to the child, but one thing is certain: no one wants her now.
Thousands of miles away in London, Kate and Ben are desperate for a baby. But, despite all their efforts, fate seems to be skewed against them. Then, as Kate suffers another miscarriage, she knows something has to change. She has heard of women who are prepared to carry a baby for others, and she knows this might be a way to finally find happiness. But will her desire for a baby stop at nothing?
And between the two, feisty social worker Simran Singh is determined to uncover the truth behind the shadowy facade of the multi-million dollar surrogacy industry. Women and children are being exploited, their lives thrown away like so much dust. Is she the only person prepared to stand up for what is right?
Kiswar Desai’s new novel Origins of Love is about India’s flourishing surrogacy industry, drawing in doctors and parents, cops and politicians, ‘desis’ and ‘goras’ into a complex, unputdownable dragnet. The author tells Renuka Bisht about this genre she is ‘inventing’ as she goes along, coupling real life issues with crime fiction. And about a female protagonist who is everything that the ‘ideal’ Indian woman is NOT supposed to be.
Simran seems somehow familiar, like a woman who could be my neighbour or my colleague, someone I would like to know. She is passionate, individualistic but with a public-minded conscience, inspirationally courageous. What’s your relationship with this protagonist? How has she grown upon you? With you?
Many thanks for the comments on Simran. I hope I can take it as a huge compliment that the character seems real to you, and that she is someone you could know. Also you have commented that she is a heroic character. That is true, and it’s very important to the book series: she has an ability to understand a social problem and the courage to do something about it.
The only relationship I have with Simran is that I , too, feel I know a lot of women like her. When I ‘made her up’, I actually found I wanted to create a character who was everything that the ideal Indian woman