Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of e ...more
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At the start of Majumdar’s standout debut novel, Jivan, a young Muslim woman, makes a Facebook post that takes a jab at the government’s handling of a train bombing in Bengal. Someone hastens to whisper of it, and Jivan lands in a prison cell, charged with the attack before night finishes falling. Everyone, suddenly, had known her, everyone had heard her speak ill of her country, everyone had seen her in the train station; everyone is deranged with ang ...more
Majumdar covers a lot of ground in this short and deceptively simple novel, set in India in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. An earnest young woman accused of the crime; a schoolteacher dipping his toe into politics; and a Hijra actress in search of stardom are the main players.
Through subtle means, the characters are given distinctive voices. Lovely, the actress, has a f ...more
It felt like the most advertised- promoted book of this summer - I needed to read what all the fuss about.
I’ve many memories of the year I spent living in India.
Memories of those ‘crowed trains’ too, stood out!!!
It was easy to visualize the opening scene.....really frightening of how people could NOT get OUT....when flaming torches were burning them alive - almost instantly. There was almost no focus on the people who died from that horr ...more
With that propulsive opening, A Burning ignites a firestorm that asks searing questions: “Whose future is it? How far are we willing to go to take our place into a better life—be it political status, artistic fame, or ...more
That was not the case. The whole story seemed to have a disorient cloud shrouding every chapter. The writing was extremely choppy and disconnected. It was painfully lacking detail, and I felt like I was only reading bits and pieces of a full story.
The characters’ lives didn’t really intertwine as described by the synopsis, in fact they seemed to h ...more
Words. I know they are potent; they can bind and heal, rejuvenate and transform. But, I also know, in equal measure, they can kill.
In ‘A Burning’, just a pale black string of words on a social media page makes a young Muslim girl, an enemy of the state, and takes her to the darks she had not felt even in the darkest corner of her dingy, tarp-roofed house in a Kolkata slum. A comment is all it takes for the 22 years of her life to be wiped clean off the slate with the pow ...more
A Burning is an ambitious masterpiece that covers a lot of sociopolitical commentary from trans rights to Hindu ...more
This book deals with so many sensitive issues such as injustice, corruption, Islamophobia, discrimination, hijraphobia, destructive effects of social media.
We have 3 main POVS: Jivan is young Muslim girl from the slums, dreaming of a better li ...more
Although compulsively readable (yay for short chapters!), with an interesting structure and plot, I came away a bit unsatisfied. I read a LOT of South Asian literature and am a huge Bollywood fan (my cats are even named Priyanka, Bipasha, Chandni and - may she rest in peace - Deepika), and this just seemed to be recycling things I had already read/seen, and felt somewhat simplistically pandering towards an American audience unfamiliar with India.
What I really liked was how each ...more
A Burning by Megha Majumdar reads like a thriller as we witness an innocent Indian girl accused of terrorism in the aftermath of suspicious subway fires. Jivan lives in the slums of India with her parents, goes to school, and teaches Lovely, a hijra (transgender woman) across tow, how to read English. Jivan happened to be riding the subway during the time of the fires and made a facebook post about it. After getting little response to her first post, she wrote another criticizing the police and ...more
It’s hard to review this book without giving anything away, but it’s a fast read that is written from the perspective of 3 different characters in present day India.
Sometimes I get caught up in so many of the problems we’re having in the US that I forget to zoom out and read about the issues that are going on all over the world. It turns out that the US hasn’t cornered the market on issues of class and ...more
What an incredible debut. The writing in this was stunning and very, very moving. Timi ...more
This is a generalization, sure, but you get what I’m saying. I was raised in a well-to-do, affluent suburb where seemingly all of my peers were born with silver s ...more
Jivan is a poor Muslim woman who lives in a dilapidated old house located in a slum. She works at a store in a nearby mall to make ends meet and support her family. While trying to wade through the dregs of society, she makes a single Facebook comment criticizing the government regarding their hand ...more
It was only the knowledge of an impending book club discussion that kept me on track to finish it. That is rather a sad state of affairs for what is a fairly short, easily read novel. I surveyed all the glowing reviews and respect that both James Wood in The New Yorker and Parul Sehgal in The New York Times cannot both be wrong. However, this simply did not land for me.
After spending the better ...more
If the police didn’t help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn’t that mean that the government us also a terrorist.
This impressive and (see below) much-hyped debut novel is set in Bengal – and opens in the voice of Jivan. Jivan is a young Muslim woman living in a Kolkota slum with her invalid Father (whose injuries started with a police beating after a forced eviction from a village above a mine) and her Mother. Jivan, who vi ...more
There is one thing that I absolutely adored about this book, and that is how Megha Majumdar wrote is structurally. It's kind of like an anthology with all of the different viewpoints with an overarching theme with the plot of Jivan.
Here are the reasons it works so well:
1. Instead of having our imperfect-perfect first-person narration, the book works well in telling the first-person story but not having it i ...more
The novel has three narrators, each a part of oppression. Jivan, is a poor Muslim girl living in the slums, who has dreams of becoming middle class. Lovely is a hijra (a recognized gender in India that is nether male or female) who dreams of being an actress. Jivan taught Lovely English so she could better ...more
This novel tracks several people as they are caught up in an event that is bigger than any of them. It shows how even an innocent moment or impulsive act can become a thread that eventually trips us. It shows ...more
What a compelling read!
I was hooked from the beginning.
It took my breath away.
The author invested her heart in this. I could feel hers and the characters’ heartbeat in every page.
The story of 3 lightly connected characters in contemporary India and the unexpected events and fate was so realistic, so believable!
This novel is unpretentious, simply written and simply constructed, but gripping and moving. The chapters are short but intense, vivid. I could smell the food, t ...more
What made this book unique was the very different voices of the three POV's. If I ever had to set the book down mid chapter, I very easily knew which character I was reading when I came back to the book. Their tones and personalities were easily perceptible through the writing, making this book about a heavy subject very re ...more
|Indian Readers: Buddy read : A Burning||16||31||May 18, 2021 01:31PM|
|Play Book Tag: A Burning -Megha Majumdar -4.5 stars||5||11||May 12, 2021 06:35PM|
|AFAReads: Book club discussion on February 24th!||4||53||Feb 04, 2021 06:21AM|
|Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: A Burning (entire book open)||34||84||Jan 25, 2021 10:29PM|
|AFAReads: Questions to kick-start your reading||1||15||Jan 25, 2021 01:47PM|
|AFAReads: Letter from the editor||1||16||Jan 25, 2021 01:46PM|
Know that I will return to you. I will be a flutter in the leaves above where you sit, cooking ruti on the stove. I will be the stray cloud which shields you from the days of sun. I will be the thunder that wakes you before rain floods the room.
When you walk to the market, I will return to you as footprint on the soil. At night, when you close your eyes, I will appear as impress on the bed.”