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Across the Line

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A tale of borders and beliefs shaped by the games people play

New Delhi. Cyril Radcliffe's hands are clammy, partly from the heat but mostly from the enormity of the task assigned. Mopping the sweat off his brow, he picks up his pen, draws a deep breath--and a dark line.

Rawalpindi. A barbaric frenzy of rioters fills the streets, disrupting a game of pithoo between Toshi
Paperback, 236 pages
Published November 22nd 2019 by Penguin Random House
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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 ·  34 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Enakshi J.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is another book (after What Mina Did, Who Killed Liberal Islam, Yakshini and A Little Book of Magical Plants) that touched my heart and the characters left an indelible impact on my mind. If you know me, by now you would be able to understand that I seldom use this sentence as the opening sentence of my review. ‘Across the Line’ is a poignant story mixed with moments of nostalgia, longing, suppressed emotions and clipped desires. This is not a love story but a story about love!

Read the full
Raju Mahtani
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A story line that must have struck a chord; but sadly, in a decreasing number of hearts with the passage of time since the botched India Pakistan partition. I fear the memory of the suffering will fade a lot quicker than the memory of The Holocaust for example where the victims were able to arouse the sympathy of the world and punish the perpetrators as war criminals. In my view, the death and trauma of partition was no less serious but provided no recourse to the millions displaced by the arrog ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book touched my heart. And if you know me and what I like about books, you’d know that I don’t say this about books very easily. ‘Across the Line’ is a beautiful and sad tale that spans two countries and two centuries. A simple line drawn by a man across the map of our then undivided country without fully knowing what he was doing, unleashed a kind of horror that we can only imagine. People lost their homes, livelihoods, families, and even their lives.

This book begins with a conversation be
Rohini Rathour
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Last night I finished reading Nayanika Mahtani's new book Across The Line in just three sittings at bedtime.

The book's main protagonists are two young teenagers and their respective grandparents. The book's target audience is also young adults, but I think this book is a must for anyone who loves a great story and wants to understand the impact partition had on lives of people on both sides of the divide.

Turmoil, trauma and torture happened on a micro level to both Hindus and Muslims. The hurt r
Pragnya Mishra
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
History baffles us. While we read how heroes saved the nations and their sacrifices. Many of us are unaware of how there were also a few people who were pawns to power and played on. A blue-eyed royal dreaming to be a gallant hero gave a nonchalant shrug dividing a nation. A lawyer who had no idea of socio-political conditions or waterways or populations had to divide a nation as India and Pakistan (East and West) in a mere 5 weeks. This entire ordeal is covered sensibly by the author in the fir ...more
The story is set in Delhi, Rawalpindi and London and moves from 1947 to 2008 to 2012. The author has used the story to portray many themes, the partition and its effects, cricket and food. She has used the characters to portray the emotions. The story shows how people in the subcontinent are similar to each other in looks, in their dressing up and also eating habits.
The characters are realistic and relatable and I got attached to them as the story moved on. I felt for them, laughed with them an
Syed Taher
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read the book when I read this name. It starts with the planning of partition between India and Pakistan back in 1947 by the British. I thought the whole book must be about Partition and had lost interest after some pages.

But slowly, it covered stories of individual families both in the new India and new Pakistan and what all people in those times had to face coz of the big decision made by the British. Many people lost their dear ones while battling to run to safe places.

The book c
Ankita Dhupar
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What do you understand by the name? Does the name gives you some vibes?
A story of outskirts and convictions molded by the games individuals play
Rawalpindi. Cricket-insane Inaya is escaping despite her dad's good faith for net practice when she finds that she isn't the just one in her family staying quiet about.
New Delhi. Jai inadvertently discovers an old, shrouded away journal in his kitchen. The date of its last passage.
This was the story in 2008.
What happened in 1947 how it was? The secre
Sindhu Vinod
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book that talks about the division of India Pakistan. A book that came out at the right time. With loads of protest now happening around us. The book narrates how it was when the partition was planned and when it was implemented.

A partition that brings out the fears and feelings of two families that struggled on each side. What one would experience is how a single line of political difference on separation of territories caused so much of hardship.

A right mix of comedy, cricket and sentiments
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book shows how one small action - but of great consequence - can change millions of lives, for the better, or the worse. Dividing families, dividing faiths, dividing trust in others: this all came from drawing a line. A line between two countries. A line that caused friends to turn away from each other; that caused people to live in disguise and caution; that caused people to not recognise even family members. That was one idea which shattered two countries, but another idea opposed it. An ...more
Yashasvi Vachhani
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Across the Line is a lot of things packed into a book. It is a look at partition and how it changed lives, a look at how intolerant we can be and most importantly how we have a lot more in common with people than we think. It is a wonderful story for kids to have this view of the partition, an important part of our history. No one is the villain in this story, there are blood on both sides and that is well portrayed. The narrative is taut and the pages turn themselves. Fully recommended!!
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having read Across the Line, I feel deeply moved by the story irrespective of having no personal story to share or make connect with.
Its a series of mixed emotions I am left with as a Reader.
While I was amused by the humorous side of each of the character regardless of their age, I also felt utterly moved by the vaccum they held in their heart, be it Toshi and Loki whose eyes have seen it all or modern day Jai and Inaya who are growing up in completely different times but still have emotions th
Gousia Kashif
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rawalpindi: Cricket-crazy Inaya is sneaking out behind her father's back for net practice when she discovers that she is not the only one in her family keeping a secret.
New Delhi. Jai accidentally stumbles upon an old, hidden away diary in his kitchen. The date of its last entry: 17 August 1947.
And then coming to the 20s
As Jai and Inaya's unlikely worlds collide, another story unfolds. A story that started with the drawing of a line. A story that shifts the truth in their lives. 'Compelling and
Aditi Capoor
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My life had been made richer by literally living the tale woven into such a beautiful tapestry. I'm trying to think of and also articulate which threads of this intricate tapestry captured my heart the most and there are so many -

of the sorrow of love lost and the joy of love found,
of identities born into, ripped to shreds and then forged anew out of the tumultuous fire of change
of the power of the human will to survive, endure and create new journeys and new stories
of the capacity inside all of
Nritu Luthra
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Across the Line picks up exactly where my history textbook left of, the drawing of the Radcliffe Line.
Our textbooks never seem to delve into the struggle of immigrants during Partition, maybe because it releases the insecure guilt within us that contemplates you this day if the trouble was worth it ?
My family and I visited Wagah Border in 2015 and it was raining; on both sides of the border.
Realising that, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of epiphany and unity.
It is these two core emotions t
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this amazing gripping story set during the India Pakistan partition. Heart-wrenching tale of loss and inhumanity offers a glimpse of the violence, which was a result of the forced migration that left millions displaced.Nayanika’s unique style of writing , apt interesting dialogues between the characters ,subtle twist in the story ,paints a vivid picture in ones head you can’t help but get attached to each of them. Leaves one thinking about why do we have these lines separat ...more
Sujatha Venkatramanan
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished reading this book in a single day. Not surprising, given how tightly woven the take is, across continents and decades. This book encapsulates the horror of divisions amongst a people who were once one, but now see each other as adversaries in everything - from cricket to politics. For all of us who have read Saadat Hasan Manto, as one of the most definitive authors on India's partition, this is a fresh, 21st century look at how life can change in a minute and the world we know unravel ...more
Piali Syam
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished the book in 2 days and wished it hadn’t finished so fast. What a fabulous narrative and well knitted story! I wish the story went on. The characters were extremely well etched and every minute detail helped breathing life to the story. Look forward to reading a sequel and even better if we can see a movie sometime soon based on the book. Wishing Nayanika loads of luck!
Simrit Bedi
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have heard a lot of partition stories from my grandmother. When I read this book' s description, I was really interested in reading the book.

The book starts in 1947,when Cyril Radcliffe drew the line between India and Pakistan ! The line which would forever divide India into two countries. Riots broke out in India and Pakistan . And it was this line that cut through the heart of ten year old Toshi's life .Little Toshi lived in Rawalpindi and was sent to India with her grandparents and it was t
Mayuri Nidigallu
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Plot:
India. Pakistan. Partition. Cricket. Teenagers. Food. Perfect ingredients for a page turner, aren't they?
Foodie Jai and cricket crazy Inaya live in different countries. Little do they know how a chance meeting in London would lead to more and open a Pandora's box for both families.
My Thoughts:
The Partition of India and Pakistan is a topic people from either country will never tire of thinking about or discussing. No matter what their outward thoughts may be, the question of where and
Gunjan Upadhyay
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book begins in British era, where Lord Mountbatten talked about Britain's strategic interest in creation of Pakistan and how Cyril Radcliffe draw the dark line, a line that marks the division of India and Pakistan. Later it fluctuates between different timelines between both the countries narrating the implementation.
The book very aptly narrates the life of two families on each side of the territories, their sufferings and struggles during the most difficult time in the history of both the
Jan 16, 2020 added it
What an amazing book. A story that really touched my heart and resonates powerfully with my family’s experience. It was so sad that I wanted to cry but also was funny in parts that I was laughing out aloud. Couldn’t put the book down.

Thank you Nayanika for making me want to ask more questions from my family who had to leave during partition.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The story really spoke to me. It acts as a reminder that there should be no enmity between people based on our beliefs or backgrounds and recounts the trauma of the partition, yet still with so much hope and humour woven into the works. The mentioning of cricket, mangoes and food - the most important components of Desi culture - was very well done too.
Jai Shivpuri
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest book ever! It was so good that I read it in one sitting!! I really liked that my name was in the story. The story is breathtaking and I hope there will be a series!
Reshom Majumdar
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My 12 year old son read this book, while I listened. Few books manage to interest him, but this one gripped him. A combination of history and cricket seen through the eyes of children.
Varsha Seshan
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Across the Line is one of the South Asia Book Award Honor Books 2020. And what a wonderful book it is.
Kanika G.
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In across the line, Nayanika Mahtani skillfully uses a synergy of wit and emotion to enrich an engrossing story that spans generations across one notoriously blood soaked border.
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Nayanika spent her childhood following her parents across many incredible parts of India, with the longest stop being in Kolkata. Though she harboured dreams of becoming an actor in musical theatre, she followed the proverbial left side of her brain to do an MBA at IIM Bangalore and became an investment banker. A decade later, she followed her heart to live in Africa. Since then, she’s been follow ...more

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