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A Burning

$23.00 USD

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Publication date: January 21, 2021

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A Burning

Bookseller Recommendation

A Burning

“A debut novel about contemporary India that manages to evoke the complexity of the forces that are shaking the country’s social structure. In fast-paced prose, the author tells of three people whose lives intersect around a court case. Jivan, a teenage girl from the city’s slums, is falsely accused of throwing a bomb at a train. Called to testify are her high school gym teacher, PT Sir, a man of conflicting morals, who is interested in getting into politics, and Lovely, a transgender woman who has dreams of becoming an actress and to whom Jivan was teaching English. As Jivan languishes in prison, PT Sir and Lovely concentrate on their own selfish interests, and there is a palpable sense of foreboding that made me want to yell at the two of them to help Jivan before it’s too late!”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Alice, Blue Willow Bookshop


Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely--an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor--has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut.

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