Here’s another book review from my sister Susan…she really can pick the great reads.  I’m reading this now and, naturally, absorbed for all the reasons Sue states.  Thanks from all of us, Sue!

 

I have  always been fascinated by the complex culture of India and thus was drawn  to read “A Burning by Megha Majumdar.  The story is that of three people living in contemporary India, each aspiring to elevate their social status in a culture where racism, political opportunism and extreme poverty prevail.  Their lives become intertwined after a catastrophic event – a terrorist attack.

 

Jivan, a young Muslim girl raised in the slums, is striving  to become middle class.  She experiences a new found freedom through her cell phone and writes an impulsive post on Facebook related to a terrorist attack.  This careless act draws the attention of the police and she is soon arrested.  Following her arrest you are introduced to 2 people from Jivan’s past,  PT Sir and Lovely. As the story evolves we learn how their brief associations with Jivan in the past play a major role in determining her future.
This book, although a novel, offered great insight into the spirit of India, perils of social media and the hopes and fears of people living on the margins of society.   I loved the introduction into the Hijra, the transgender community of India.  This group is believed by some to have mystical powers and excel in song and dance.  They are often invited to events to offer their blessings and good luck.  Lovely, as a Hijra, adds warmth and humor to the story.
Although the book has some lightness in the person of Lovely, I found it to be a thriller –  always trying to anticipate the ending.   With so many timely issues to discuss it could be a great Book Club pick!