House of Caravans - by Shilpi Suneja (Hardcover)
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About the Book"Moving back and forth from the tumultuous years surrounding Partition to the era of renewed global sectarianism following 9/11, this extraordinary historical novel portrays a family and nations divided by the living legacy of colonialism"--
Book SynopsisA marvelous debut novel exploring the fractures caused by the Partition of India, as well as the legacy and contemporary parallels of sectarian violence around the world.
Lahore, British India. 1943. As World War rages, resentment of colonial rule grows, and with it acts of rebellion. Animated by idealistic dreams of an independent India, Chhote Nanu agrees to plant a bomb intended for the British superintendent of police. Some four years later, following a torturous imprisonment, Chhote flees the city as it descends into violence. Carrying the young son of his murdered wife through scenes of unspeakable bloodshed, he encounters his brother, Barre Nanu, the two of them caught between a vanishing past in the new nation of Pakistan and a profoundly uncertain future in India.Kanpur, India. 2002. Following the death of his grandfather, Barre Nanu, Karan Khati returns from New York to join his sister in their childhood home, which has been transformed by the embittered Chhote Nanu into a hostel for Hindu pilgrims. When their mother arrives from Delhi, Karan and Ila learn that their fathers were two different men--one Hindu, one Muslim--relationships with both of whom were doomed by familial bias and prejudice, the siblings resolve to reconnect, and to understand the painful twist and turns in the family's story.Moving back and forth from the tumultuous years surrounding Partition to the era of renewed global sectarianism following 9/11, this extraordinary historical novel, "Tolstoyan in its scope" (Ha Jin), portrays a family and nations divided by the living legacy of colonialism. Richly evocative and timely, House of Caravans will endure in the ways only the best literature does.
Praise for House of Caravans"Reminiscent of Zadie Smith's White Teeth... [a] moving evocation of life before, during, and after Partition and the past's immeasurable impact on the present."--Kirkus Reviews
"Suneja weaves a tale that spans generations, centering on the trauma of the Partition and its rippling effects on a family trying to find its way back to one another. This is a promising debut."--Publishers Weekly
"Intense and evocative, this powerful debut historical saga recounts India's partition throughout time to explore the profound intergenerational impacts of the event in nuanced and beautiful storytelling."--Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine
"[House of Caravans] reminds us again and again that belonging has never been reducible to a simple choosing of sides."--Gus O'Connor, Full Stop
"House of Caravans is an astonishing debut-the work of a master writer. Through finely wrought details and clever plotting, Shilpi Suneja illustrates how the reverberations of the 1947 Partition are felt across multiple generations. With her deft writing and her penetrating imagination, Suneja gifts us with a beautiful testament to the power of storytelling."--Shawna Yang Ryan, Literary Hub
"Suneja's novel is full of quiet, imperfect characters making hard choices in dire straits, who are aware of themselves as bigger than, and yet completely mired in, their circumstances. The power of this novel as a social novel--as a work of realism that shows the fate of the individual caught up in history--is that it shows how cruelly history treats individuals in the first place. Suneja's representation of history and its effects effectively captures this miserable process. As a portrait of a family whose members have been caught up and then ground down by history, House of Caravans is a triumph of realism."--Diane Josefowicz, West Trade Review
"Told with sumptuous language and epic intensity, House of Caravans is a captivating, harrowing historical saga."--Foreword Reviews
"Tolstoyan in its scope, House of Caravans is a marvel of a novel. It copes with some major issues of our time, such as the mingling of races, colonization, rebellion, historical violence, migrations, and also love and remembrance. Shilpi Suneja writes with patience, subtlety, and intelligence. She is a genuine artist."--Ha Jin, author of Waiting
About the AuthorShilpi Suneja is the author of House of Caravans. Born in India, her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Guernica, McSweeney's, Cognoscenti, and the Michigan Quarterly Review. Her writing has been supported by a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship, a Grub Street Novel Incubator Scholarship, and she was the Desai fellow at the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She holds an MA in English from New York University and an MFA in creative writing from Boston University, where she was awarded the Saul Bellow Prize. She lives in Cambridge, MA.