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Circle of Light: An Autobiography [Paperback]

Kiranjit Ahluwalia
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Jun 1997
Born into a privileged family in India, Kiranjit Ahluwalia came to England in 1979 to be married to a man she had met only once. The next ten years were to be a nightmare of almost daily, physical, mental and sexual violence at the hands of her husband. Isolated by a society in which wife-beating was regarded as a normal part of life, Kiranjit, in desperation, killed the man who had tortured her for so long. Bewildered, poorly advised and speaking little English, she was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. In prison, she unexpectedly found a degree of freedom she had never known in the outside world. For the first time she was safe from beatings and abuse, and was able to make friends with other women - including Sara Thornton, still imprisoned for an offence similar to her own. Meanwhile, a campaign to secure a retrial was gathering momentum. Media coverage of her plight had made Kiranjit something of a "cause celebre", and she was attracting many prominent supporters. The case against her was finally dismissed in September 1992, and she was released amid scenes of rejoicing.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (12 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006383297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006383291
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover


Born into a well-off family in India, Kiranjit Ahluwalia came to England in 1979 to be married to a man she hardly knew. She was a cheerful, optimistic young woman, full of hope for a happy married life, but literally from the day of the wedding it was clear that all was not well. The next ten years were to be a nightmare of constant physical and mental abuse at the hands of her violent husband. There was no one she could turn to for help and support, as domestic violence is virtually a taboo subject for many Asians in Britain, and family honour – 'izzat' – is the supreme consideration. In 1989, exhausted, confused and driven beyond endurance by the suffering she had undergone, Kiranjit killed the man who had made her life a misery. At her trial, the proceedings of which she had barely understood, Kiranjit was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment. As the details of her case emerged following a campaign co-ordinated by Southall Black Sisters, a women's centre operating on a shoestring budget, nationwide attention focused on her plight, and she was set free in 1992. After her release, Kiranjit met the Princess of Wales, who urged her to write a book about her experiences. 'Circle of Light' is that book. It is a remarkable first-hand account of one of the most controversial and troubling issues of recent years. Kiranjit Ahluwalia's case is unique, but it reveals the disturbing truth about many women's lives in Britain today.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eye opening 5 May 2001
By A Customer
This book really opened my eyes to the struggles faced by any woman suffering domestic violence. Charged with emotion, it is a heart-rending account of the horrific violence suffered by Kiranjit Ahluwalia, her imprisonment for murder, and the tireless struggle of her supporters to change attitudes and the law to win the freedom that she morally deserved. This book should be read.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 9 Jun 2005
By A Customer
I thought this book was excellent, it really shows the torture and pain caused to kiranjit. Her struggled life and the way she was coping. I do believe that in some instances, she could have been strong and confronted the issues caused by her husband, and not let him walk all over her. Definately a good book to read.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ 27 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This is one of the best autobiographies I have read so far. A real insight into the mind of a woman suffering Domestic Violence. Once I started reading the book it was very difficult to put down and I completed it in two days because I just had to read on and on. Kiranjit Ahluwalia explains her life of a abused wife simply yet in detail and what she went through for ten years of her life and the consequences after are unimagniable, yet Domestic Violence goes on and women continue to suffer. A factual book full of sadness, happiness, anger, exhilaration and heart stopping events. READ IT YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DISAGREE WITH NEGATIVE COMMENTS 25 Dec 2005
By A Customer
This is an excellent book. I dont agree with the negative reviews about the book as these people have not been through her situation, so who are you to judge?? In her time, divorce was so uncommon, divorce is more regular these days. Also I can understand her thoughts of keeping her pride for her family to stick it out in the marriage, alot of indian females are proud and would still stay in marriages for the sake of their families reputation. Her husband was very violent and over-powering so I can understand how hard it must be trying to leave a person like that - Overall I totally understand her abusive relationship as some people have had similar experiences in life or still are having them, its not easy mentally or physically!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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9 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lies 1 Dec 2003
By A Customer
Contrary to an earlier review, domestic violence is not considered the norm in Asian families. Kiranjit could speak English as she had a job in Crawley. She could have left her husband and was advised on many occasions to divorce him if she was that unhappy and chose not to. The relationship between them was tempestuous and both were equally to blame for the breakdown in the relationship - this book obviously wouldn't highlight that important fact because it doesn't help to sensationalise and push sales for this book.
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