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3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  611 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews

A stunning first novel, set during the violent 1947 partition of India, about uprooted children and their journeys to safety

As India is rent into two nations, communal violence breaks out on both sides of the new border and streaming hordes of refugees flee from blood and chaos.

At an overrun train station, Shankar and Keshav, twin Hindu boys, lose sight of their mother

Hardcover, 211 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by Metropolitan Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Oct 26, 2011 Beverly rated it really liked it
• I really enjoyed this book. I have been having good luck with books about 200 pages long – We the Animals and The Buddha in the Attic were books with the same page length that told powerful stories.
• While I have read several books about the “partition” between Pakistan and India – they are usually written from the pov of one of the sides – Partitions is not written to favor a side and that is what made the storyline unique
• The author’s skill as a poet shows as the writing is beautiful and fl
Oct 01, 2011 edj rated it it was amazing
I’m sitting at a barbecue with a group of people, and I discover that one grew up in Pakistan. “I’m reading a book right now about the partition of India and Pakistan, and the violence of that time,” I mention.

“Whose side is it written from?” he asks me.

“The author is really presenting both sides, but the narrator is a dead Brahmin Hindu,” I say, and get no further. The entire table wants to talk about the dead narrator.

So I will begin by telling you that the narrator is dead. However, this work
Nancy Oakes
Partitions is the Amit Majmudar's first novel, although he is also an award-winning author of poetry. According to the acknowledgments, his family was not caught up in the 1947 partition of India which created the new nation of Pakistan, his relatives have no stories about that time, and everything he knows about this tumultous period of history he learned through reading. In this book, "partition" refers more to what happens after the politics are settled and Pakistan has become a reality; it a ...more
Dec 20, 2013 Alyssa rated it really liked it
What a heartbreaking story. This novel tracks twin Hindu boys, an elderly Muslim doctor, and a Sikh young woman all trying to make their way to their new homes during the 1947 partition of India. During a journey that's often terrifying, all four of these travelers learn about the bad and good in people as they travel. Told from the viewpoint of the boys' dead father, the story keeps you on the edge of your seat. Stories like this are often hard to read, because they show how awful human beings ...more
Sheza 'Shez'
Mar 16, 2016 Sheza 'Shez' rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing...I could not put the book down! It truly reflects what a tragedy and mistake partition was and how many lives were ruined and uprooted. I really loved that it showed this from the view of actual people going through this rather than an abstract view or that of the politicians who insisted on this awful mistake. It shows the harsh realities that these people were forced to endure just because some high-up politicians decided that Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, who had been living ...more
Nov 05, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Sometimes, a book makes lovely reading, even when the subject matter is very sad. Partitionsby Amit Majmudar is one of those books. I was not at all surprised to read that the author is an award-winning poet; there is a certain poetry to the language in this story that gives it away. (He is also a diagnostic nuclear radiologist, but I haven’t quite worked that into the mental picture I get when I’m reading.)

In 1947, the border between Pakistan and India was closed. It was not a peaceful closing.
Oct 01, 2016 Mom rated it really liked it
The time is 1947, and India has been split into two nations : India and Pakistan. Refugees are running, fleeing the violence and seeking safety with others of their own religion. At a crowded chaotic train station, Shankar and Keshav, twin Hindu boys, lose contact with their mother and then set off through murderous mobs in a frantic search for her . A teenaged Sikh girl, Simran Kaur, has run away from her father, who tried to poison her to prevent her capture and rape by Muslim extremists . Mea ...more
Jan 08, 2012 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The history of the Indian Partition comes to live through the events that occur at the same time to Amit's compelling Muslim, Sikh and Hindu characters. Each character's minute-by-minute, day-by-day existences are revealed by an "all-knowing" Hindu father who died in a pact with one of his gods to leave one of his ill twins on earth to heal and survive and take him instead. Although the narrator is all-knowing, he is powerless to change the painful events he narrates. This novel depicts the desp ...more
Jun 22, 2011 Chrissie rated it it was ok
Shelves: india, hf, kirkus, kindle, sample-g
“Partitions” is about the mass movements of people of different faiths that occurred when India became independent from Britain and was split into two nations, India and Pakistan. It is not about the historical events, but rather about a few individuals that lived through the mobs, killings and horrors caused by the rapid and indiscriminate drawing of borders. This book focuses on the personal events of a few individuals, not the national events. It takes place at the border between India and we ...more
Regina Lindsey
Dec 20, 2013 Regina Lindsey rated it really liked it
The partition of British India in 1947, created two independent nations – India and Pakistan – and resulted in one of the largest forced migrations in history. Approximately 12.5 M people fled across the newly delineated borders dependent on one’s faith. Hindus and Sikhs headed towards India while Muslims focused on entry into Pakistan. Partitions follow four people – a set of young Hindu twins, a teenage Sikh girl, and an elderly Muslim doctor – caught up in the migration chaos and the violatio ...more
Aug 12, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing
Devastating. This book leaves me speechless. The story takes place around a terrible time for India & Pakistan - the Partition. There are 5 main characters of the book all of whom go through their own versions of hell. I won't say any more on the plot outside of it was hard at times to read due to what is happening to our heros and heroine. BUT - that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it as the writing is so wonderful, very lyrical. At the end, you may cry out of sadness for human kind, out of ...more
Jul 14, 2011 Parita rated it it was amazing
Loved it...every bit of it!

One of the most humane stories I have read in a while. Seperated from loved ones in a time of great conflict and mistrust, this is a story of how 4 strangers make a family. Using the central characters of the story, the author talks about the birth of 2 mighty nations, the bloodshed and grief that came in its wake, uprooted people turning savage from loss and suffering and of those brave survivors who made it home. Even while avoiding the usual gory bits involved with
Feb 13, 2013 Ming rated it really liked it
A moving book, beautifully written by a poet. I finished it last night and its mood and beauty continue to resonate. Partitions tells of the horrors of 1947 but its three stories or perspectives of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh characters are well-balanced and deeply moving. Majumdar's writing is lyrical, conveys a tender and wrenching tone, and maintaining a profound sense of humanity. He showcases his characters' vulnerablity, strength, and beauty as they struggle to survive the confusion, violence a ...more
Apr 21, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great first novel by an awarded poet and radiologist. Majmudar has put a human face on the tragedy suffered by millions who were arbitrarily uprooted from their homes when the British decided to separate India and Pakistan and provoked a chaotic exodus of populations from both sides of the newly formed border. If you were on the wrong side of the border you were not safe, if you were female, a child or old you were not safe - the violence people inflict on each other never ceases to amaze me. ...more
Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed
Oct 11, 2013 Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed rated it it was amazing
Majmudar is a gifted poet and it really shows in this book. I found myself savoring it, despite the sad situations that the characters found themselves in, because of the beauty of the writing. With a less skilled writer, the plot developments could have been rendered in a predictable way, as there are no real surprises. I tried to read his other book, Abundance, first, but was disappointed and could not make much headway. This book has the breathtaking poetry I was expecting from Majmudar, and ...more
Oct 15, 2013 Seema rated it really liked it
Wow, beautifully written story set during Partition, following Hindu twin boys, a young Sikh girl, and an elderly Muslim doctor. The writing is stunning, and the images of post-partition brutality in India and Pakistan are harrowing and simply unforgettable. My one issue with this book was the narrator, who I found distracting -- although I don't know if the book would have worked in the same way without him.
Sara Myser
Jul 06, 2016 Sara Myser rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this novel. Normally I wouldn't pick up something like this, but I read it for a class. Really cool POV (reminded me of The Book Thief), and an interesting story to be told. Very resonating! I finished a few days ago and can't quit thinking about it. A very quick, cultural, and enjoyable read!
Bryan Collins
Nov 13, 2014 Bryan Collins rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written book with fantastic imagery containing so many intense and emotional scenes. I've never read his poetry, but you can certainly see he has a gift for it from the style of writing in this book. Great read.
Jul 27, 2013 Brenna rated it did not like it
Dina Cain
May 20, 2017 Dina Cain rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2017 Carol rated it really liked it
Very well written, quite an eye opener. The worst of humanity and the best, all in one book. I know little about these events, so this was extremely interesting, with a real human element.
Rhiannon Grant
May 04, 2017 Rhiannon Grant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A good read. Sad, as one might expect, but with a focus mainly on humanity amid chaos.
Oct 28, 2013 Mark rated it liked it
By Amit Majmudar
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Published In: New York City, NY, USA
Date: 2011
Pgs: 211


It’s 1947 and British India is rending itself into two nations in the beginning of its postcolonial future: Pakistan, India. Communal violence breaks out as refugees move to their side of the raw border amidst fire and death. And a small set of characters face a race against time, a dance against the rushing tide of history, to find a place, a safe place
Apr 06, 2013 Denise rated it it was amazing
Although I was aware of the partition of India in the most abstract sense, I had never really taken the time to understand the turmoil that such an event created. In 1947 India had just gained independence from the British Raj - a time that is popularly immortalised in England through the many films and books that have been created. After years of struggle, it was finally decided to divide India into two separate states; the Muslim majority to live in Pakistan and the Hindu majority to live in I ...more
Reema Sahay
Jul 11, 2014 Reema Sahay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first time I came across ‘Partitions’ by Amit Majmudar was while I was reading about ‘the Ice-Candy Man’ by Bapsi Sidhwa; and after having read both the books, now I know why the parallels had been drawn. Both the books are set against the partition of India in 1947. Both the books follow the changing circumstances of a set of characters before and after the partitions. What also connect these books are their unusual yet relatively neutral narrators. The former has been narrated by a spirit; ...more
Sep 27, 2011 Lexie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2011 Felice rated it liked it
The novel Partitions by Amit Majmudar is set during the turbulent and brutal division of India in 1947. Four disparate people come together, each on a flight to safety: twin brothers Shankar and Keshav, a young Sikh girl Simran and elderly Ibrahim Masud. As India is torn apart, these four will lose and find their families, identities and beliefs.

If you have read anything about the Partition of India you know that it was brought about by the dividing up of India into a couple nations. The Britis
Cheryl A
Aug 26, 2012 Cheryl A rated it really liked it
Deeply lyrical, this debut novel by award winning poet Amit Majmudar captures the chaos and terror of the Indian Partition, where the separate Muslim state of Pakistan was created. Narrated by Roshan Jaitly, a dead Brahmin Hindu from Lahore, Partitions follows the lives of four people as they try to make their way to safety in a world torn asunder.

In the new state of Pakistan, Shankar and Keshav, six year old twins, lose sight of their mother at an overrun train station and set off on foot in se
May 10, 2015 Val rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-extra
In the first years of Indian independence inter-community violence erupted, particularly in the Punjab region. Partition had been enacted by the inability of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League to work together. (Majmudar gives this reason and does not blame one side more than the other.) Many people, finding themselves on the 'wrong' side of the border or fearing the violence, left their homes and looked towards places where they would feel safer and among their own religious com ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Iznaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book that captures the fears of the time and also the hope for human triumph inspired in the people undergoing these journeys.
WIthout dwelling on the death trains, which are certainly a character in this story, the characters evade this fate, as many others would have in reality whilst retracing the steps that led to their being left off the trains.
Every side had a story that still forms millions of family histories, and Majmudar weaves the human interconnectedness through a period w
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Amit Majmudar is the author of The Abundance, Partitions, chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best debut novels of 2011 and by Booklist as one of the year’s ten best works of historical fiction. His poetry has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Best American Poetry 2011. A radiologist, he lives in Columbus, Ohio.
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“How little we knew each other, though for centuries our homes had shared walls. How little we will learn, now that all we share is a border.” 5 likes
“I am grateful to every reader, whoever you are, wherever you are. Your time has been a gift.” 3 likes
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