China Room

China Room

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Longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize

 Review by Justine

 

A great story set in 1920s India. Three young girls married off to three brothers in one ceremony but none of the young women actually know which of the brothers they had married as their heads are always bowed in the men’s presence and they are not really permitted to look up. The sister in laws live in the brothers’ family estate with a very difficult mother in law. They work and live in what they call the ‘China Room’. They can see the men – their husbands- from a small window and they try to guess which husband belongs to which sister. The story is about one of the young women, Mehar, who is convinced she knows which husband is hers…

The story also takes us to 1999, a young Englishman struggling with a drug addiction travels to India to his family’s home town and lives in the old deserted home of his ancestors with a room that is locked -the China Room. As he tries to work out his life, the story of his great grandmother’s life unfolds.

A very good read.

 

Publisher Reviews

 

The breathtaking new novel from the Booker-shortlisted author of The Year of the Runaways

Mehar, a young bride in rural 1929 Punjab, is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. She and her sisters-in-law, married to three brothers in a single ceremony, spend their days hard at work in the family's 'china room', sequestered from contact with the men. When Mehar develops a theory as to which of them is hers, a passion is ignited that will put more than one life at risk.

Spiralling around Mehar's story is that of a young man who in 1999 travels from England to the now-deserted farm, its 'china room' locked and barred. In enforced flight from the traumas of his adolescence - his experiences of addiction, racism, and estrangement from the culture of his birth - he spends a summer in painful contemplation and recovery, before finally finding the strength to return 'home'.

 

Other Reviews

‘THE STUFF OF MIRACLES’ Bryan Washington
‘A GORGEOUS, GRIPPING READ’ Kamila Shamsie
‘I’M BLOWN AWAY BY IT’ Tessa Hadley
‘NOVELS THIS GOOD ARE RARE’ Daily Telegraph