A Burning

A Burning
Megha Majumdar
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A girl walks through the slums of Kolkata holding an armful of books. She returns home smelling of smoke, and checks her most prized possession: a brand-new smartphone, purchased in instalments. On Facebook, there is only one conversation. #KolabaganTrainAttack On the small, glowing screen, she types a dangerous thing. . . ' If the police didn' t help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn' t that mean that the government is also a terrorist? ' Set in contemporary India, A Burning is the story of three unforgettable characters, all dreaming of a better future, whose lives are changed for ever when they become caught up in the devastating aftermath of a terrorist attack. Jivan - a poor, young, Muslim girl, who dreams of going to college - faces a possible death sentence after being accused of collaborating with the terrorists. Lovely - an exuberant hijra who longs to be a Bollywood star - holds the alibi that can set Jivan free, but telling the truth will cost her everything she holds dear. PT Sir - an opportunistic gym teacher who once taught Jivan - becomes involved with Hindu nationalist politics and his own ascent is soon inextricably linked to Jivan' s fall. Taut, propulsive and electrifying, from its opening lines to its astonishing finale, A Burning confronts issues of class, fate, prejudice and corruption with a Dickensian sense of injustice, and asks us to consider what it means to nurture big ambitions in a country hurtling towards political extremism. A Burning is a novel for our times and for all time.
' A Burning by Megha Majumdar is quietly beautiful and devastating. Its tone and pacing are measured perfectly. It is as funny as it is sad. This book won' t let you go, and you won' t want it to end' -- Tommy Orange ' A Burning is an excellently crafted, utterly thrilling novel full of characters that I won' t soon forget. Megha Majumdar writes about the ripple effects of our choices, the interconnectedness of our humanity, with striking beauty and clarity. A stunning debut' -- Yaa Gyasi ' Megha Majumdar' s soon-to-be published A Burning is the best debut novel I have come across in a long time. Somehow Majumdar succeeds in capturing the boundless energy and starry-eyed hopefulness of the country' s youth. A Burning signals the arrival of a new voice of immense talent and promise' -- Amitav Ghosh ' Polyphonic. . . Lovely is a particular gem. . . brilliant' * Kirkus Reviews * ' This is a novel of now: a beautifully constructed literary thriller from a rare and powerful new voice' -- Colum McCann