A Burning | Quick Take Review

Published: June 2 2020

Cover of Megha Majumdar's novel "A Burning"

Pages: 320

Format: Audiobook (Library Copy)

Tags: Contemporary, Asian/South Asian Lit (India), LGBTQIA+, Multiple-PoV

| Synopsis from the Publisher |

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 becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Keywords to describe this book: multiple points of view cerebral, thought-provoking

~My Thoughts~

I didn’t really know anything going into this book, but I can say that it’s definitely my favorite of the other contemporary novels written by Indian/Indian-American writers that I’ve read. This story takes place solely in India and it focuses on a slice of the lives of a few people whose paths have crossed in various ways and how the actions they take affect each other. A terrorist attack is what connects them all, though the fallout only has dire consequences for some.

I found all of the characters to be very compelling. For instance, it was very interesting to read from Lovely’s perspective. She is a hijra, part of an intersex community in India. Hijras are revered by some but are reviled by others. Lovely moves through life with such strength despite being mistreated by many.

Violence against women is a major theme in the story (as it has been in other books by Indian authors I have read). I think, though, that Majumdar does a good job of showing these moments of violence without making it feel gratuitous. She is making a strong case for women’s rights, but not at the expense of these women. This book is very powerful, and it also shows how hierarchy and politics play a big role in keeping people down or targeting the helpless because they are easy to blame. Another big them is religion and the anti-Islamic feelings within India. Jivan is Muslim and becomes a target and made an example of because of her religion. Politics also plays a role in the novel. Each of these themes melds together to create tension and conflict between the characters and Majumdar does an excellent job of balancing each to tell an effective story.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this book and I think it’s very well written. I would definitely recommend it to those who are looking for contemporary, thought-provoking stories, especially that center on gender roles.

My rating: Definitely Worth the Read

Thoughts & Thanks!

Anyone planning on reading this book? Yea/Nay? Let me know if you’ve read it, want to read it, or have read something similar that you can recommend me!

And, as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

2 thoughts on “A Burning | Quick Take Review

    1. I would recommend it. It’s very interesting and I enjoyed it. It’s also pretty short, so you wouldn’t have to dedicate a lot of time, either!

      Liked by 1 person

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