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A People's History of Heaven

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People's History of Heaven.

Welcome to Heaven, a
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Algonquin Books
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  • A People's History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian
    A People's History of Heaven
    Release date: Mar 19, 2019
    One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2019 (Literary Hub), A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF HEAVEN centers on five best friends in a Bangalore slum known as Heave ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 20 copies available, 1896 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Mar 25 - Apr 24, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    3.99  · 
    Rating details
     ·  119 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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    Angela M
    Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Heaven, worlds away from the life I know, a slum in Bangalore and yes, it’s a slum called Heaven. I was expecting to find poverty and repression here, but I had no idea that I would find the joy of beautiful friendships, loyalty, love, and hope nor mothers and daughters with strength and a desire to just live their lives . Fending off the government that wants to bulldoze their homes, these women and girls exhibit strength and concern for each, especially the five young girls. Deepa who can’t se ...more
    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Heaven is a beautiful place because of the people living inside. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    A diverse group of women are living in a slum named Heaven in Bangalore, India. Heaven is a hidden building in between other fancy, new high rises in an urban area of the city.

    The community of strong women calling Heaven home are mothers and daughters “left behind” by men because of the search for a male heir. The women are destitute, not knowing where their next meal will come from. On top of that, the city regularly th

    4.5 Stars

    Heaven is a slum in Bangalore, named for the Sanskrit word left on a broken sign, the word for heaven, and it is where the stories of these families take place. There are eighteen people of note in this story, but the primary focus is on five girls on the verge of womanhood who attend the local government school.

    Banu is an artist, her grandmother, her ajii, one of the original residents of Heaven; Deepa, who is visually impaired, is a dancer who doesn’t attend the s
    Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2019, arc
    an exceptional story drenched in culture and hope!

    Mathangi Subramanian has intricately woven together the threads of these five girls lives into a beautiful story. Five extraordinary girls living in a slum called Heaven in Bangalore India. Now a slum is probably the furthest thing from heaven for most of us, but I think these girls might beg to differ. Surrounded with friendship and love these girls were an impenetrable support system for one another. There was so much beauty in how uncondit
    Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Times today don't allow jaded jokes or malicious irony: no, today we want what feels like goodness. Things can go sour quickly we've noticed, and nothing is more certain than this in a small "slum" of Bangalore. But gee, we've traversed terrains like this before, on screen (Slumdog Millionaire) and popular lit (Animal's People); but, scratch that. It's actually nothing like that. And it comes with a bonus too: we NEED this kind of stuff!

    Our modern spoiled-brat me me me and things to buy days nee
    Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
    In Bangalore, India, nestled behind a luxury high rises, lies a little bit of heaven. Yet, for most of us, this would not be considered to be heaven at all, but a place where poverty dwells, lives are crushed, and dreams and hope are non existent. And yet...
    "If you're a girl in heaven, you don't get out much. Too many eyes watching you.

    There are people residing in Heaven. There are young girls with dreams, with hopes. There are their mothers, their Auntys, their fathers who look to each other f
    Fafa's Book Corner
    Mini review:


    I received this E-ARC via Algonquin Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Trigger warning: Mention of bullying. Homes being torn down.

    I was really looking forward to reading this! I saw that synopsis and knew I had to request it. Unfortunately it wasn’t for me.

    I really didn’t like the writing style. I’m sure it gets better. But I could barely read a paragraph.

    Still recommend.
    Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: arc, fiction, india, read-2019
    Heaven in this story is one of the thrown-together slums of Bangalore, India, a place populated with the lowest ranks of Indian life. There are some full families, with both parents and children, but more commonly there are women alone or with children and grandchildren. Sometimes primarily female children for they are the less important and less powerful in life. All girls and women enter life here with a mark against them.

    When we enter Heaven, we meet a varied group of girls and their familie
    Janelle • She Reads with Cats
    Thank you so much Algonquin for my free copy!

    Thus far, I have had the most phenomenal year of reading. I am somewhat new to reading diverse books so this has been the most amazing surprise!

    Set in Bangalore, India we follow in first person narrative five schoolgirls who call a slum their home. The slum is a community made up almost entirely of women who were discarded for who they are or for not being able to live up to the standards of men. It is nestled between high-rises and has a damaged sig
    Sherwood Smith
    In India, a slum called Heaven is being threatened with razing.

    The local women rally to fight it. We get to know some of these women, each distinctive, but the true focus is on five girls, each with different circumstances, including one with adult-level responsibilities, a visually impaired dancer, and a trans girl.

    The writing is graceful, vivid, the narration swooping into each girl in intimate space, then outward again to paint the community. The grim side of poverty and its cost are not sent
    ♥ Sandi ❣
    3.5 stars Thank you to BookBrowse and Algonquin Books for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Published on March 19. 2019.

    A poor lowly slum in Bangalore, hidden behind the city high rises. Houses physically built from scrapes. But the homes built with love. Five families - five young girls, well almost - who fight to live in this squalor they call Heaven, as bull dozers nosily idle nearby, waiting for a chance to grind up what little they have.

    This book reminds me so much of Amy Tan's Joy
    Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I so enjoy when a story drags me to where they want me to be as these five fearsome girls sneak their way into your heart. Raised in a Bangalore slum, each character gets to provide their backstory that centers around lives defined around by femaleness and class structure as they fight for their future, adventures, and just to be. The unnamed first person plural narrative voice showcases the ingenuity and solidarity of the characters in the unconditional acceptance of each other and each just wa ...more
    Sachi Argabright
    Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
    THE PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF HEAVEN is a story of 5 girls living in a Bangalore slum called Heaven. These best friends and their families work hard to support each other, even while constantly battling the government from bulldozing their neighborhood. This novel features a wide cast of characters and each girl has a unique perspective to offer. This book highlights many themes such as poverty, feminism, transgender issues, and living with disabilities. This beautifully written novel follows these gi ...more
    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    While this book isn't young adult, I do think it will appeal to YA readers.  We do read a lot about the adult's history, but I feel like the book really focused on the young girls.  

    There are a lot of characters in this book.  I mean a lot.  At times, it was hard to remember who each one was, but there is a guide in the book.  I was reading the earc, so I wasn't able to just flip back and forth.  But I would have done that with a physical book and it would have made a big difference.

    Each chapter
    Cheyenne|Tonkin About Books

    “It’s not easy to be a girl. But trust me, my dear. It is much, much harder to be a woman.”

    Hey guys! Do I have a treat for you today! This review is going to be so great because I legit loved this book and cannot thank my friends over at Algonquin enough for offering this ARC to me!

    Early on, we girls learn that life owes us nothing, that womanhood is a spectrum of nuisances, heartbreak, and tragedies.

    A People’s History of Heaven centers around five young girls who share stories of love, loss
    Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
    First of all, thanks to NetGalley and Carla from Algonquin Books for sending me ad eARC in exchange for a honest review.
    You have to know English isn’t my first language, so feel free to correct me if I make some mistakes while writing this review.

    Real rating: 3,5 stars.

    We’re in Bangalore, India. Decades ago it was called "the market" or "the town" but then globalization and technology came, followed by the western mentality based on money and expansion and now Bangalore is something that eats it
    Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: fiction, giveaways
    I won a copy in a Goodreads giveaway; this did not influence my review.

    Two to two and a half stars.

    A People's History of Heaven is an odd book in that I didn't find it to be plot-driven or character-driven. It is populated with too many characters and I had to repeatedly refer to the list of The People of Heaven to keep all of them straight. The plot is non-linear and jumps back and forth in time, typically without any demarcation or preamble indicating that a shift has taken place. Furthermore,
    Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Thank you Algonquin Books for a review copy. Thoughts below are my own.

    I am in awe of all the female strength, love, and energy Mathangi Subramanian brought to life through 5 teenage living in a Bangalore, India slum. As their slum is about to be bulldozed to make room for fancy high-rises, these girls will do whatever it takes to protect the place they call home.

    While the plot the book is centered on is dire, the true focus of the narrative is on the friendship and bond between all the women li
    Lara Kareem
    Heaven is a place in a fictional Bangalore, India. Heaven is slum where the people who are mostly women live in fear because of how globalization and western technology has claimed to come and improve their lives but has made the people poorer but have given them an incentive to come together fight for their homeland.

    The writing style for this is very unusual and was very hard for me to get into, but still, I persisted. All the lives of the characters are interwoven and make each of the characte
    4.5 Rounded Up

    I loved this story so, so much. Thank you to Algonquin for my review copy.

    This novel centers around the lives of 5 young girls who live in Heaven, a slum located in Bangalore, where the lives of girls are often only as valuable as the men who might marry them.

    There is so much to unpack with this novel, too much to do here. This book is primarily about Indian women, but the author also covers themes of family, marriage, friendship, class, education of women, gender and sexual fluid
    Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: fiction
    This book is not perfect, but then, neither is life, which is what A People's History of Heaven perfectly depicts. This book was beautiful, moving and read like poetry. I thought the first person plural perspective was a brilliant choice: the reader is effortlessly placed right in the middle of all these stories, friend groups and families.

    The characters were so well depicted and developed. We get to know Heaven because we get to know the characters so well; this is a people's history, after al
    Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    A fine new book from a new author, a graduate of Brown and a female. This is, after all, a female centered story, close to being a documentary as the scenes of inadequate housing in Bangalore can be easily pictured. The author thanks the Fulbright Foundation for funding the research behind this book. We are introduced to a group of young girls tightly bound in survival friendship as they go through the daily routines necessary to assist their families plus finding their ways to learning.

    Melissa Dee
    Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    What a beautiful book!. “Heaven” is a story of friendship, love, and the many, many ways in which girl-women make the choices that will form their lives and the lives of those they love. “Heaven” is a slum in Bangalore where the continual threat of destruction has always threatened the lives of these girls and their mothers and aunties.

    Mathangi Subramanian is a writer to watch. This young woman has an elegant voice; and it will be so exciting to listen to it develop.

    I voluntarily read and revie
    Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
    The foreign lady clutches her camera so hard that the skin on the top of her knuckles changes color. Which is funny, because when we close our fists, our skin stays exactly the same. Like our bodies are already the color of crisis.

    Well that was a lovely surprise. This book was a random library grab (I'm a sucker for a pretty cover!) and I'm so glad I took a chance on this one!
    Brittany | thebookishfiiasco
    Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: lgbtq-reads
    (@algonquinbooks #partner)
    ‘they say mothering makes you strong. turns out daughtering does too.’
    this book really just swept me off my feet. i’m sitting here, having just finished it, thinking about the power and strength within each of the women in this story. with their community being faced with destruction, turmoil, and loss— they stand together, continue to support and build up one another, protect what is theirs, and always ensure they are safe and cared for. i’ve never read a book that w
    Kathryn Speckels
    Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    "It's funny, being a girl. That thing that's supposed to push you down, defeat you, shove you back, bad, and farther back still? Turn it the right way, and it'll push you forward instead."

    A People's History of Heaven is a rich, poignant river of poeticism that pulls you slowly and irresistably through the lives of five remarkable girls and the women surrounding them. This is one of the best books I've read so far this year, and I give it five stars without the slightest reservation.

    Where do I ev
    Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2019, 2019-5, favorites
    Thank you, Algonquin via NetGalley for the digital copy to review. All opinions are my own.

    From the publisher's synopsis: A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People's History of Heaven.

    Heaven is a slum in Ban
    Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer. I received this prepublication ARC from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill at no cost. As I check most of my reading material out of a public library, thank you, Sonoma County Library, I’m not influenced by getting a book for free. Okay? Done with that.
    This book is a gem such as you’d find in a Joyalukkas window, sky blue, parrot-tail green. It’s the story of us. Really. It says so. It’s like that San Francisco-based folk group from the Sixties, We Five, a kind of e
    Janice Ahmad
    Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Heaven is a collection of shacks and huts in the windswept outskirts of Bangalore. The poorest families live here. Yet, the girls and women in this novel are rich in friendship, understanding, and shared history. The story revolves around the experiences of a group of teen-age girls who have been friends almost from birth and who possess very different characteristics. They learn from each other, their mothers, grandmothers, and the elder schoolmaster. They accept each other - blind, transgender ...more
    Helen Dunn
    Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: townebooks, own
    I read this one because the author did an event at my local bookstore (she was lovely!) and I was happy to support her and the store. I did not have the opportunity to read the book before the event so couldn’t ask questions but I did enjoy the discussion between her and the Indian women in attendance who talked a lot about the disparities between girls and boys in Indian culture and how it’s been changing over their lifetimes. They also shed light on Hijra people in India which I’d never heard ...more
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