'Powerful and heartbreaking... The book's primary and unflinching focus is the female members of the household, all drawn with such skill and love that they remain with you long after the final sentence'
'Takes us right to the heart and the heat of Partition-era Delhi. A stunning, powerful work by a brave new voice in British fiction'
Anna Hope, author of Expectation
'A powerful and moving story of a liberal, Brahmin family caught up in the violence and social unrest of post-Partition India. Every character springs from the page - the writer's skill and sympathy are immense. I loved it'
Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures
Delhi, 1946 Ma and Bappu are liberal intellectuals teaching at Delhi University.
Their fourteen year-old daughter, precocious, headstrong Alma, is soon to be married to a fair-haired boy who is training to be a doctor: Alma is mostly interested in the wedding shoes and in spinning wild stories about evil spirits for her beloved younger sister Roop, a wild child obsessed with death.
Ma and Bappu are uneasy about their clever daughter marrying so young, but political unrest is brewing and times are bad for girls in India.
When Partition happens, this wonderful family - whom we have come to love and adore - is torn apart. But the resilience of the human spirit is an extraordinary thing...
PREPARE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS FAMILY:
Alma: the beating heart of the novel. We meet her as a precocious 14-year old desperate to be married, but as the book progresses, she becomes entangled with the chaos of Partition with devastating consequences
Roop: Alma's younger sister. Obsessed with death and blood, she is a fierce, funny and rather wild child trying to make sense of the destruction that has befallen her family
Ma and Bappu: the girls' parents, liberal Indians working at Delhi University. We see them as their dream of an independent India collapses under the weight of History. Ma's experience mirrors that of the many Indian women who were hoping for new freedom under an independent India - and had to face more harassment and insecurity instead
And many more: the Muslim nanny, forced to hide in a water tank; the widowed house-keeper whose mission is to keep the family together; the old grandmother, obsessed with the family's honour and determined to preserve it no matter the cost...
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