Tuesday 12 July 2022

A Burning by Megha Majumdar | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

A Burning by Megha Majumdar
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 17th March 2022

A girl walks through the slums of Kolkata holding an armful of books. She returns home smelling of smoke, and checks her most prized possession: a brand-new smartphone, purchased in instalments. On Facebook, there is only one conversation.


On the small, glowing screen, she types a dangerous thing…

‘If the police didn’t help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn’t that mean that the government is also a terrorist?’

Set in contemporary India, A Burning is the story of three unforgettable characters, all dreaming of a better future, whose lives are changed for ever when they become caught up in the devastating aftermath of a terrorist attack.  

Jivan – a poor, young, Muslim girl, who dreams of going to college – faces a possible death sentence after being accused of collaborating with the terrorists.
Lovely – an exuberant hijra who longs to be a Bollywood star – holds the alibi that can set Jivan free, but telling the truth will cost her everything she holds dear.
PT Sir – an opportunistic gym teacher who once taught Jivan – becomes involved with Hindu nationalist politics and his own ascent is soon inextricably linked to Jivan’s fall.

Taut, propulsive and electrifying, from its opening lines to its astonishing finale, A Burning confronts issues of class, fate, prejudice and corruption with a Dickensian sense of injustice, and asks us to consider what it means to nurture big ambitions in a country hurtling towards political extremism.

This book is pretty heartbreaking and thought provoking.

Jivan witnesses men torching a railway station and the next day, videos are being shared about it on Facebook. Jivan shares her thoughts on how the police behave, the entirety of this book is political. This puts Jivan in a compromising position. She is arrested after it is found that she had Facebook correspondence with a terrorist recruiter. The police believe that she was behind the railway being burned.

The story is told from Jivan's point of view in prison, awaiting trial and from Lovely, an aspiring actress who was learning English from Jivan and PT Sir, one of Jivan's old teachers.

Lovely is determined to be a famous actress and PT Sir befriends a politician and ends up receiving gifts for providing eye witness testimonies against criminals when the courts don't have enough evidence. He believes his life is changing for the better. Both PT Sir and Lovely stand up for Jivan in court, but this may cause them to lose out on their dreams and aspirations. What will they do?

This is a politically heavy book set in India and honestly broke my heart. The corruption of the police and government and how they treat people was tough to read about. 

Be First to Post Comment !
Post a Comment