EVERYTHING THE LIGHT TOUCHES
“a novel like none other” — AMITAV GHOSH
“written by a novelist with the eye of a poet, and a poet with the narrative powers of a novelist, this is a book that needed to be written, that tells true things, and is entirely its own being” — ROBERT MACFARLANE
“timely and timeless—a masterpiece” — AVNI DOSHI
“capacious and wise…a magnificent reminder that the natural world does not lie outside us” — NILANJANA ROY
“evocative, intelligent, and deeply thought-provoking” — PRANAY LAL
In Everything the Light Touches we meet many travellers: Shai, a young Indian woman who journeys to India’s northeast and rediscovers, through her encounters with indigenous communities, ways of being that realign and renew her. Evelyn, an Edwardian student at Cambridge who, inspired by Goethe’s botanical writings, embarks on a journey seeking out the sacred forests of the Lower Himalayas. Linnaeus, botanist and taxonomist, who famously declared “God creates; Linnaeus organises” and led an expedition to Lapland in 1732. And Goethe himself, who travelled through Italy in the 1780s, formulating his ideas a revelatory text that called for a re-examination of our propensity to reduce plants—and the world—into immutable parts.
Drawing richly from scientific ideas, the novel plunges into a whirl of ever-expanding themes—the contrasts between modern India and its colonial past, urban life and the countryside; capitalism and centuries-old traditions of generosity and gratitude, script and ‘song and stone’. While at the heart of the book lies a tussle between different ways of seeing—those that fix and categorise, and those that free and unify.
Everything the Light Touches brings together, with startling and playful novelty, people and places that seem, at first, removed from each other in time and place. Yet all is resonance, we discover; all is connection.