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MOTH

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‘Moth is a powerful and moving story of a liberal, Brahmin family caught up in the violence and social unrest of post-Partition India. It is written with absolute fidelity to the small rituals of daily life, the allegiances and jealousies within families, and the huge and overwhelming forces of history. Every character springs from the page, involving the reader completely in their triumphs and sufferings – the writer’s skill and sympathy are immense. I loved it’Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures Delhi, 1946.Ma and Bappu are liberal intellectuals and both teach at Delhi University.Their fourteen year-old daughter, Alma, is soon to be married to a fair-haired boy who is training to be a doctor: Alma is mostly interested in the wedding shoes. Ma and Bappu are uneasy about their clever daughter marrying so young, but political unrest is brewing and times are bad for girls in India. Alma adores her naughty younger sister Roop, who is obsessed with death and spends most of her time torturing insects.When Partition happens, this wonderful family – whom we have come to love and adore – is torn apart and it’s hard to bear. But the resilience of the human spirit is an extraordinary thing. PREPARE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS FAMILY:Alma: the beating heart of the family (and of the novel). We meet her as a young 14-year old desperate to be married. As the novel progresses, she becomes entangled with the chaos of Partition with devastating consequencesRoop: Alma’s younger sister. Obsessed with death and blood, she is a fierce and funny little girl trying to make sense of the destruction that has befallen her familyMa and Bappu: The girls’ parents. Liberal Indians both working at the local university. We see them as their dream of an independent India comes to clash with the reality of it. Ma’s experience mirrors that of the many Indian women who were hoping for new freedom under an independent India – and had to face more harassment and insecurity insteadAnd many more: the Muslim nanny, forced to hide in a water tank; the widowed house-keeper whose only way through the crisis is to cook for the family she’s looking after; the old grandmother, obsessed with the family’s honour and determined to preserve it no matter the cost…]]>

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