New Delhi [India], March 23 (ANI/PRNewswire): Janice Pariat's new novel is an ambitious, elegant, multi-layered work that interweaves a quartet of journeys across continents and centuries.
In Everything the Light Touches we meet many travellers: Shai, a young Indian woman, lost and straying, who journeys to India's northeast and rediscovers, through her encounters with indigenous communities, ways of being that realign and renew her.
Evelyn, an Edwardian science student at Cambridge, inspired by Goethe's botanical writings, who embarks on a journey seeking out the sacred forests of the Lower Himalayas. Linnaeus, a botanist, taxonomist, who famously declared 'God creates; Linnaeus organizes', and his 1732 expedition to Lapland.
Goethe, who travels through Italy in the 1780s, formulating his ideas for The Metamorphosis of Plants, a little-known, revelatory text that called for a re-examination of our propensity to reduce plants - and the world - into immutable parts.
Drawing richly from scientific and botanical ideas, the novel plunges into a whirl of ever-expanding themes: the contrasts between modern India and its colonial past; urban life and the countryside and nature; capitalism and centuries-old traditions of generosity and gratitude; script and 'song and stone'.
Everything the Light Touches brings together, with startling and playful novelty, people and places that seem, at first, removed from each other, in time and history. Yet, all is resonance, we discover, all is connection. And at the heart of the book lies a tussle between different ways of seeing - those that fix and categorize, and those that free and unify. 'To be still,' says a character in the book, 'is to be without life.'
Everything the Light Touches has been in my head - and heart - for so long, growing from a seed of an idea in 2014 to this: four major characters, and a gently-entangled quartet of 'travel' narratives, strung across continents and centuries. Each of them, in their own way, is asking: How do we see the world around us? In fixity or fluidity? In categories or unity? For me, these are important questions because I believe they shape, in foundational ways, how we relate to our planet, to each other, to all living beings.
"Writing the book has been an immense challenge - it is my most ambitious novel yet - and I am thrilled that it has found a home in the safe, supportive hands of HarperCollins India. They also published my previous work, The Nine-Chambered Heart, and I am delighted to continue working with them on this book," said Janice Pariat.
"Everything the Light Touches is a book that makes you think anew about the world around you, to look at history, and ideas, in a different light from what we are accustomed to. This is a very ambitious, wonderfully written novel that is going to delight many, many readers in 2022 - it is one of those books that you wish would stay with you forever and never end. Janice Pariat is one of my absolute favourite contemporary authors, and I am so excited that we have this terrific new novel from her. I'm looking forward very much to publishing Everything the Light Touches next year," said Udayan Mitra, Publisher - Literary, HarperCollins India.
"Janice Pariat has published three books of fiction thus far - all quietly accomplished in their different ways, and well loved. Her new novel, Everything the Light Touches, however, is an extraordinarily bold and ambitious one. I have seen it grow and flower over the past few years, from the germ of an idea into a work tackling big, urgent themes with great structural and formal inventiveness. It is a work that should propel her into the very front rank of Indian novelists writing today, and one that I'm truly excited to be publishing. If there's one novel you read in 2022, make it this one," said Rahul Soni, Executive Editor - Literary, HarperCollins India.
This story is provided by PRNewswire. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PRNewswire)