Friday, June 26, 2020
The Burning by Megha Majumdar
A Facebook post is all it takes for Jivan to be accused of a horrific crime: the burning of a few train carriages in Kolkata, India, that leads to many deaths. Fate does not favor Jivan — she is poor and Muslim in a country where Hindu nationalism is on the rise. Against this background, a transgender woman named Lovely narrates her story and we learn about PT Sir, a teacher who once taught Jivan, who gets sucked into the maelstrom of right-wing politics. Scintillating dialog and a sharp eye for the nuances of class make for a spectacular debut.