They seek to rise—to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies. One is Jivan, a Muslim girl from the slums accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. One is PT Sir, an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. And the third is Lovely, an irresistible outcast who has the alibi that can set Jivan free—but at the cost of everything she holds dear.
Taut, symphonic, propulsive and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism.
Praises For The Book
‘A Burning is the best debut novel I have come across in a long time. In telling the story of a young Muslim girl whose life is undone by a single social media post, it creates a kaleidoscope of contemporary urban India, with its Internet-driven hysteria, religious fanaticism, rampant corruption, poisoned air, random violence, enraged mobs and pervasive misogyny. The interconnected stories seem to leap from the headlines and the picture is often horrifying—yet Majumdar somehow also succeeds in capturing the boundless energy and starry-eyed hopefulness of the country’s youth. A Burning signals the arrival of a new voice of immense talent and promise’—Amitav Ghosh
‘A Burning is an excellently crafted, utterly thrilling novel full of characters that I won’t forget soon. Megha Majumdar writes about the ripple effects of our choices, the interconnectedness of our humanity, with striking beauty and clarity. A stunning debut’—Yaa Gyasi
‘A Burning by Megha Majumdar is quietly beautiful and devastating. Its tone and pacing are measured perfectly. It is as funny as it is sad. This book won’t let you go, and you won’t want it to end’—Tommy Orange
‘In her captivating debut novel A Burning, Megha Majumdar presents a powerful corrective to the political narratives that have dominated in contemporary India […] Majumdar creates a vivid portrait of India as a polyphonic crowd, a patchwork of differences.’ —TIME Magazine
‘One of four writers to watch this summer’—The New York Times
‘Majumdar’s explosive first novel is an intimate epic’—Oprah Magazine
‘Combines fast-paced plotting with the kind of atmospheric detail one might find in the work of Jhumpa Lahiri or Daniyal Mueenuddin […] A highly compelling read’—Vogue
A Burning one of the most anticipated books of the year, according to Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, Elle and more, and one of the best books of the season according to The Wall Street Journal Magazine and others!
About The Author
Megha Majumdar was born and raised in Kolkata. She moved to the United States to attend college at Harvard University, where she was a Traub Scholar, followed by graduate school in social anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. She works as an associate editor at Catapult, and lives in New York City. A Burning is her first book. Follow her on Twitter @MeghaMaj and Instagram @megha.maj.
June 2020 | Hamish Hamilton | Penguin Random House India
Demy | Hardcover | Rs 599 | 304pp