The Edge of Another World is the story of three women living in different times and spaces, whose lives enmesh and interconnect in strange and unforeseen ways.
Shaken by her mother’s death, Sophie, a contemporary English woman, accepts the offer of a holiday in Portugal’s Alentejo region, at a hotel that was once a convent. Satishan Nambiar, a historian from Malabar in Kerala, tells her about the frescoes in the convent’s church and the great megalithic standing stones where Sophie finds the small figure of a Madonna-like Indian goddess. Before they part, Satishan invites her to Malabar…
Born to an unknown mother during the throes of an earthquake in sixteenth-century Portugal, Inês yearns to know her origins. Although taken into a noble family’s household, her life changes when Leonor, the family’s younger daughter, enters a convent, taking Inês as her servant. When Lucas van Domburg, the painter commissioned to create the frescoes in the church, sees Inês, he declares her to be ‘his’ Virgin, and insists on using her likeness in the murals. A tragic turn of events leaves Inês alone in Malabar but it is here that she finally discovers her true identity.
In Malabar, Thattakkutty, a Namboodiri Brahmin girl, lives an enclosed and orthodox life in an illam ‘a long time ago’. Irked by her intelligence, her guru schemes to destroy her. Simultaneously, rumours begin that her elder sister, Arya-edathi, has an illicit relationship with a Nambiar man. The distraught Arya-edathi dies by her own hand, and as Thattakutty runs to her, she sees that the great doors of the illam are open. She flees out, supported by her Goddess—uniting with her, rushing to meet her own fate.
Years and centuries later, the final drama of Thattakutty’s life will affect both Sophie and Inês.