By Arundhati Roy
This highly-anticipated novel by the author of The God of Small Things is a journey into the Kashmir region, on the border of India and Pakistan. Readers who know little of the geography or culture will want to keep an almanac handy to give context to the plot points, but the story rolls along even if you don’t have a firm grasp on the “where.” The heart of the book, and where it really shines, is the examination of how people endure—even thrive—through sometimes violent, sometimes touching, sometimes traumatic experiences in the face of a rising tide of Hindu Nationalism, India’s alt-right movement. Anjum, one of the primary characters, is born intersexed and the way her story unfolds, in which she grows to be a kind of interfaith caretaker, is the story’s anchor, but there are many characters who deserve just as close attention. Roy’s novel demands a little work, but it is well worth the effort.
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