Why hello! It’s time for another book review and today I’m going to be talking about A Burning by Megha Majumdar. It’s part literary fiction, part political thriller which isn’t my usual choice but I’d heard such great things about this book that I had to read it for myself. So I did exactly that and here’s what I thought…
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster UK and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
by Megha Majumdar
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date of Publication: 21st January 2021
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: eBook (320 pages)
Content & Trigger Warnings
Transphobia, sexual assault, murder, lynching, death by burning, death by hanging, graphic violence, surgery trauma
Set in a contemporary India, A Burning shows the aftermath of a terrorist attack that took the lives of over 100 people. It centres around the perspectives of three characters; Jivan – a young Muslim woman who has become the scapegoat for the attack, Lovely – a hijra who aspires to be a movie star and PT Sir, a PE teacher who is about to find himself drawn to political extremism.
A Burning is an apt title for this book. It begins with hundreds dying in a blaze – but it’s more than that. The tension in this book simmers before eventually boiling over. At the start, I had sympathy and hope. By the end, I was just angry.
What I loved most about A Burning is how it throws all these questions of morality at you disguised as the way characters act, react and are treated. Questions like:
- Is saying nothing as bad as telling a lie?
- Do we have a responsibility to each other?
- Can we ever truly know anyone beyond our own experience of them?
- Are we complicit in a crime if we stand back and say nothing?
- Would we sacrifice our ambitions to do the right thing?
- Is capital punishment ever justified?
It comes across as a bleak and brutal piece of fiction but it’s super important to recognise the dangers of social media and corruption. While I did thoroughly enjoy A Burning, I wouldn’t recommend it to readers who are sensitive to graphic violence. (There’s one scene in particular that I suspect will traumatise me forever.)
- Political thriller set in India
- Diverse characters (race, religion, class, sexuality)
- Multiple POVs
- Will make you question your own morality
Read This If You…
- Like character-driven literary fiction
- Enjoy thinking about morality
- Have concerns about social media and its impact
Many years ago I would have been asking why is this happening? But now I am knowing that there is no use asking these questions. In life, many things are happening for no reason at all.
Thank you so much for stopping by to read my review of A Burning by Megha Majumdar. If you’ve enjoyed reading my review, please do check out my other book reviews and give me a follow over on Goodreads!
Will you be adding A Burning to your TBR? Let me know in the comments below.