Cover art for A Burning
17% off!
Published
Simon & Schuster, June 2020
ISBN
9781471190278
Format
Softcover, 304 pages
Dimensions
21.6cm × 13.5cm × 2.2cm

A Burning

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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.

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