Small Days and Nights
by Tishani Doshi
Pub Date 21 Jan 2020
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A captivating and clear-eyed story of two sisters caught in a moment of transformation, set against the vivid backdrop of modern India.
Escaping her failing marriage in the United States, Grace Marisola has returned to Pondicherry to cremate her mother. Once there, she receives an unexpected inheritance—a property on the isolated beaches south of Madras—and discovers a sister: Lucia, four years older, who has spent her life in a residential facility.
Settling into the pink house on its spit of wild beach, Grace builds a new and precarious life with Lucia, the village housekeeper Mallika, the drily witty Auntie Kavitha, and an ever-multiplying band of dogs, led by the golden Raja. In the lush wilderness of Paramankeni, with its vacant bus stops colonized by flying foxes, its temples shielded by canopies of teak and tamarind, where every dusk the fishermen line the beach smoking and mending their nets, Grace feels that she has come to the very end of the world.
But her attempts to leave her old self behind prove first a struggle, then a strain, as she discovers the chaos, tenderness, fury, and bewilderment of life with Lucia.
In fierce, lyrical prose, Doshi presents an unflinching portrait of contemporary India, exploring the tensions between urban and rural life, modernity and tradition, duty and freedom.
Luminous, funny, surprising, and heartbreaking, Small Days and Nights is a story of the ties that bind, the secrets we bury, and the sacrifices we make to forge lives that have meaning.
About the Author: Award-winning poet, dancer, and novelist Tishani Doshi lives in Tamil Nadu. Her debut novel, The Pleasure Seekers, was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Small Days and Nights was named an Irish Times Book of the Year 2019.
A Note From the Publisher
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"Small Days and Nights starts off with a simple premise that becomes a shattering study of disaffection and belonging.... this is a concise novel of staggering depth.... Each page of this novel bears testament to her skills as inequality, secrecy and unhappiness harden into menace. Through a cycle of visits, returns and memories, Grazia must weather huge unease and bruising conflicts. Eventually, she finds strength and acceptance in this disturbing, deep and utterly extraordinary novel." - The Guardian