A Burning by Megha Majumdar
A Burning follow the point of view of three people living in India. There is Jivan, a girl from the slums accused of starting a movement and being involved in a terrorist attack; PT Sir, a teacher who gets involved with a political party that is trying to take Jivan down; Lovely, an aspiring actress who is on the come up for the first time in her life.
*A quick disclaimer I got this as a book of the month, before I heard about how they handled their Instagram questions. I am cautiously watching them, and making sure they follow through with the promises they made in they apology.*
When I read the description for this book, I was immediately intrigued. There are very few books I’ve read that take place in India, so I was so excited. Then I received it, saw that it was short and got a little nervous.
What I liked:
- Being able to see how each of the three main characters felt about their lives, and the steps they were making to improve them was great. Especially Jivan and her desire to help her parents.
- Lovely and her storyline. It was my favorite part of the book, and honestly pretty moving.
What I didn’t like:
- The writing. I didn’t like that Lovely’s was in present tense. It really ripped me out of the story, despite hers being my favorite. I also felt like the writing kept me at a distance. It was as if the book didn’t want me to know everything. Like I was hearing a retelling in a court room, but the witness kept forgetting details or would jump around. I genuinely had no idea how long of a timeline was covered until the last page.
- PT Sir. He felt very flat and kind of unsettling. I would literally put the book down when it was his. I think a time or two I said “not you again.”
- The ending. Don’t get me wrong it was believable, but I feel like it could have been so much more impactful from Jivan’s view. I liked Lovely and PT Sir’s ending.
I hesitate to recommend this book, because I don’t like book that keep me at a distance. I want to feel involved or connected, or care about the characters. I don’t like to learn about things after the fact, especially when they could have been such strong scenes.