Revelatory and original. Jeet Thayil
Boats on Land (Random House, India) won the Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award 2013 and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction. Set in India’s northeast—around Shillong, Cherrapunjee and pockets of Assam—these tales are painted against a larger historical canvas of the British Raj, the World Wars, conversions to Christianity.
This is a world where the everyday is infused with the folkloric and supernatural. Here, a girl dreams of being a firebird. An artist watches souls turn into trees. A man shape-shifts into a tiger. Another is bewitched by water fairies. Political struggles and social unrest interweave with fireside tales and age-old superstitions.
These stories announce the arrival of a startlingly brilliant and compassionate writer whose book is as haunting as the world it emerges from. Siddharth Deb
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