A Burning by Megha Majumdar 

By  BookishBearx

A Burning is a contemporary fiction novel. It is Megha Majumdar’s debut novel which spans around 320 pages. Editions available (as shown on Goodreads) are hardback, paperback, ebook and audible. As I always do, here is the synopsis, in this case taken from the books Goodreads page.

For readers of Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, and Jhumpa Lahiri, an electrifying debut novel about three unforgetful characters who seek to rise – to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies – and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India.

Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent is linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely — an irresistible outcast who’s exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humour — has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as components of a thriller; class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning towards extremism. An extraordinary debut.

I want to start off by saying this book is very interesting. It switches and changes between the intertwined lives of 3 different characters. It doesn’t really become apparent as to what part they all play in each others lives until later in the book. This really keeps you guessing throughout the book and does help to keep you interested in what is happening.

I found the book to be quite fast paced and straight to the point, while still being detailed, which I really like. It is a very quick read but still entertaining. Again, I think the fast pace was what kept me interested and able to enjoy the book.

While the book had its good points for me, there were also somethings that I didn’t love. The first thing is I found it hard to like the characters. I didn’t find myself rooting for any of them, or even forming any kind of attachment. I have thought on why this might be but I cannot pinpoint a specific thing, so I think it might just be that they aren’t really my cup of tea?

The second thing that I didn’t fully love was the grammar in certain parts. It was written in a way that read a little off. The only way I can think to describe it is there were instances where there was a mix up words like for example a sentence would structured as “yesterday he coming to me” rather than “yesterday he came to see me”. I don’t know it this way of writing was intentional but to me it made reading the book a little odd. It disrupted the flow of the writing a little bit for me.

All in all, I think this book is definitely an interesting book that touches on a handful of difficult and interesting themes and topics. Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. I feel like people who like contemporary fiction, political fiction and contemporary fiction may well love this. For me there were just a couple of things that weren’t up my street, which made me only like it instead of love it. But I do think it’s a good read!

Star Rating /5


Subscribe to our newsletter now!