Our August selection has been described as fierce, kaleidoscopic, invigorating, powerful, fresh, audacious and more. And it's all warranted!
Set in contemporary Kolkata, A Burning is a multi-voice narrative that begins with a Muslim girl from the slums being accused of a terrorist attack because of a careless comment on social media. The book goes on to interrogate class, justice, faith, fate, prejudice and corruption in modern day India. Huge thematic ground to tackle (and potentially send the novel into didactic territory), but the writing is never heavy handed in Megha Majumdar’s care. In this, her debut novel, she has created a tautly measured and sharp narrative that, although brief, reads like an epic.
If we can give you any advice when reading A Burning, it’s to not rush through it. The creative force of this novel is found in its subtle detail and the ways in which the three plot lines converge with devastating and complex inevitability.
A few links if you want to go deeper...
- The Saturday Paper review
- NPR interview
- The New York Times review
- The Washington Post review
- Politics and Prose video: Megha Majumdar and C Pam Zhang
- Books Connect Us podcast feat. Megha Majumdar
- PEN America print interview
- New Yorker review