New Delhi [India], October 26 (ANI/PRNewswire): HarperCollins Publishers India is thrilled to announce that it will be publishing two books by Aanchal Malhotra: the first a work of non-fiction titled In the Language of Remembering: Generational Memories of the Partition in 2021 and the second, a novel titled The Book of Everlasting Things in 2022, respectively. Both books have been acquired from David Godwin at David Godwin Associates.
"The last few years have been very productive for me as a writer, working in domains both familiar and uncharted. My debut book, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory (2017), opened the doors to a further excavation of Partition history, particularly within second and third generations on both sides of the border. Stories about parents and grandparents began to pour in and I archived them as second-hand memory," said Aanchal Malhotra.
"It is these stories that make up my second book, In the Language of Remembering: Generational Memories of the Partition. Personal and inward-looking, they touch on topics of identity, nationality, politics, belonging, religion, the creation of the other, and why Partition is still not an event of the past. They are, in a way, the testimony of a generation," Aanchal Malhotra added.
"Along with recording oral history, I've also been quietly working on a novel titled The Book of Everlasting Things. Retaining the theme of Partition, it also explores the largely forgotten role of Indian soldiers in World War One and the extraordinary realm of perfumery. It is a book about love and regret, longing and exile, and the strength and depth of human relationships. My first foray into fiction, it has been perhaps the most demanding but rewarding book of my career. HarperCollins India has always been the natural home for my work, and I'm delighted to continue working with them on these two new books," Aanchal Malhotra further added.
"The Partition left behind a tragic legacy, one that continues to haunt successive generations. Aanchal's new book, a sequel to the powerful Remnants of a Separation, will resonate deeply with a new generation as it struggles to come to terms with it on both sides of the divide," said Krishan Chopra, Publisher - Business & Non-fiction Division, HarperCollins India.
"Aanchal Malhotra's very first novel is a magnificent saga, spanning cultures and continents, languages and generations. In richly textured prose, The Book of Everlasting Things brings to life a tale marked by extraordinary incidents and people with unforgettable characters. Like some of the great novels of our time that have the war as a backdrop - All the Light We Cannot See and The English Patient, for example - The Book of Everlasting Things conjures up a world that is more real than reality itself, and will enchant readers on repeated readings. It's a book that not only crosses borders - both geographical and historical - effortlessly, but also builds finely detailed bridges across them. Aanchal Malhotra's storytelling is one of a kind, and we at HarperCollins India are looking forward very much to bringing this exceptional book to readers," said Udayan Mitra, Publisher - Literary Division, HarperCollins India.
About The Books
In the Language of Remembering: Generational Memories of the Partition
Aanchal's first book, Remnants of a Separation, told stories of the survivors of Partition who experienced the momentous event first-hand. In the Language of Remembering: Generational Memories of the Partition takes the narrative forward by shifting focus to the post-memory generation - how the generations that have not witnessed Partition engage with its history; whether a pre-Partition identity belonging to their parents or grandparents constitutes any part of their present life. How does the event continue to affect one today, and what does it mean to remember it?
Are there physical and psychological consequences of belonging to a Partition-affected family? How does Partition anchor the collective experiences as South Asians and shape the way one perceives the world? How does it build the characteristics, augment fears and populate one's history? These are some of the questions she explores through the stories she tells in the book.
The Book of Everlasting Things
In the pre-partitioned Lahore of 1937, ten-year-old Samir Vij locks eyes with eight-year-old Firdaus Khan through the rows of perfume bottles in his family's ittar-shop in Anarkali bazar. It is not her eyes that draw her to him, though, but the intoxicating smell of her skin. Firdaus becomes an enigma to the perfumer prodigy Samir, and against the struggle for Indian independence, their friendship blossoms into love. Their years become defined by books full of pressed leaves, stolen glances across a calligrapher's studio, paper boats made with secret letters, the aroma of tuberose, and the balmy, sultry smell of monsoon.
But severed by the violence of Partition just a decade later, home becomes a foreign place, and death hangs over every house as Lahore city is destroyed. Suddenly bereft of both lineage and land, Samir is forced to flee to Delhi. An undivided land is divided, a heart is carved in two; Samir becomes Indian and Firdaus becomes Pakistani.
Unable to survive as a refugee in Lahore's twin city, the young perfumer embarks on a journey across the oceans, and in the last British troopship to leave Hindustan in 1948, he discovers a secret that does not belong to him.
From the battlefields of World War One, to the flower fields of Grasse; from 388 letters of love, to a brief and secret marriage, Samir Vij traces the story of his perfumed life.
About The Author
Aanchal Malhotra is an oral historian and author of Remnants of A Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory, shortlisted for the British Academy's 2019 Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, the Hindu Lit for Life Non Fiction Prize, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize and the Shakti Bhatt First Book prize. She is the co-founder of the Museum of Material Memory and currently lives in Delhi.
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