It all starts simply enough-an idealistic young Muslim girl uses her very first costly device with her own salary, a SmartPhone, to join in the conversation on Facebook. A vicious train attack by terrorists has just taken place and right afterwards, she posts an ill-advised comment.
With that propulsive opening, A Burning ignites a firestorm that asks searing questions: "Whose future is it How far are we willing to go to take our place into a better life-be it political status, artistic fame, or simply a way out of crushing poverty Would we sacrifice others for our own ambitions"
Narrated primarily by a trio of original characters-Jovan, the girl at the crux of the bookLovely, a hijra (trans) who has acting aspirations and whom Jovan has tutoredand PR Sir, her former gym teacher who will do anything to gain pollical clout with a right-wing party.
In telling her story, Megha Majumdar touches upon a smorgasbord of topics that inform many conversations today: the effect of income disparities, the results of nationalism gone awry, the miscarriage of justice, the ethical lapses of the press and the sinister side of social media, and the systemic corruption that feeds all of it.
Wry, unsettling, and poignant, A Burning deserves the great advance buzz it is getting. I am so grateful to Alfred A. Knopf Publisher for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for a definitely honest review.