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Evening Is the Whole Day

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Set in Malaysia, this spellbinding and already internationally acclaimed debut introduces us to the prosperous Rajasekharan family as its closely guarded secrets are slowly peeled away.

When Chellam, the family’s rubber-plantation-bred servant girl, is dismissed for unnamed crimes, her banishment is the latest in a series of recent, precipitous losses that have shaken six-year-old Aasha’s life. A few short weeks before, Aasha’s grandmother Paati passed away under mysterious circumstances and her older sister, Uma, departed for Columbia University--leaving Aasha alone to cope with her mostly absent father, her bitter mother, and her imperturbable older brother.

Beginning with Aasha’s grandfather’s ascension from Indian coolie to illustrious resident of the Big House on Kingfisher Lane, and going on to tell the story of how Appa, the family’s Oxford-educated patriarch, courted Amma, the humble girl next door, Evening Is the Whole Day moves gracefully backward and forward in time to answer the many questions that haunt the family: What was Chellam’s unforgivable crime? Why was Uma so intent on leaving? How and why did Paati die? What did Aasha see? And, underscoring all of these mysteries: What ultimately became of Appa’s once-grand dreams for his family and his country?
Sweeping in scope, sumptuously lyrical, and masterfully constructed, Evening Is the Whole Day offers an unflinching look at relationships between parents and children, brothers and sisters, the wealthy and the poor, a country and its citizens--and the ways in which each sometimes fails the other. Illuminating in heartbreaking detail one Indian immigrant family’s secrets and lies while exposing the complex underbelly of Malaysia itself, Preeta Samarasan’s debut is a mesmerizing and vital achievement sure to earn her a place alongside Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, and Zadie Smith.

340 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Preeta Samarasan

12 books122 followers
Please see www.preetasamarasan.com for more about the book and a regularly updated schedule of events.


Preeta Samarasan has attended a lot of schools, and you should contact her to say hello if you knew her at any of them:

In Ipoh, Malaysia:
The Wesley Church (ACS) Nursery School;
The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Kindergarten;
SRK Tarcisian Convent;
SM Convent, Ipoh (the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus).

In Montezuma, New Mexico:
The Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (now UWC-USA);

In Clinton, New York:
Hamilton College

In Rochester, New York:
The Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester)

In Ann Arbor, Michigan:
The University of Michigan (MFA program in creative writing)

This is mostly what she has done with her life, attend schools. But now she stays at home and writes and only occasionally dreams about school.

You should also contact her if you happened to know her in some other capacity unconnected with schools, especially if you knew her a very long time ago. The longer ago you knew her, the more excited she will be to hear from you, though she will also be immensely excited to hear from you if you do not know her at all but have read her book and enjoyed it.

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