30 October, 2020

Cry, Beloved Country

A powerful debut on Partition and two women's struggle for love

Cry, Beloved Country
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
No bugles have ushered in Shauna Singh Baldwin. No gavels have fallen to settle contending bids for her manuscript in the west. In fact there's been none of the now accustomed hype to pave the way for this Canada-born Indian author. But Baldwin's first novel, What The Body Remembers is a book to take note of-perhaps more than any of the books that have been celebrated recently. Here, finally, is an Indian writer in English who does not seem an outsider to her own story; an author who writes with an unusual immediacy and emotional intimacy with her material, and who rarely wavers from her absorption to glance at or make concessions for an audience, western or otherwise.

At the heart of What the Body Remembers-a powerful saga of a Sikh family set against the independence movement- are three unforgettable characters. Sardarji is a figure of transition, a man typically caught in a cleft world. A kindly zamindar from Rawalpindi with a degree from Balliol in engineering, he reads The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, builds canals that criss-cross the Punjab, makes...

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