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Burnt Sugar

by Avni Doshi

Literary Fiction

Burnt Sugar Synopsis


In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her arranged marriage to join an ashram, took a hapless artist for a lover, rebelled against every social expectation of a good Indian woman - all with her young child in tow. Years on, she is an old woman with a fading memory, mixing up her maid's wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a mother who never seemed to care for her.

This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers - between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar gradually untangles the knot of memory and myth that bind two women together, revealing the truth that lies beneath.

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Burnt Sugar Press Reviews

Taut, unsettling, ferocious A disturbing tale of memory and forgetfulness, questioning the relevance and the authenticity of both - Indian Express

Crystalline, surgical, compulsively readable. An examination of toxic relationships and the ties that bind us Beautifully grotesque, vivid, unexpected. Doshi knows her characters so intimately I felt I could reach out and touch the skin they're in - Diksha Basu, author of 'The Windfall'

A courageous novel written in spare, gleaming sentences. It made me hold my breath and gather it up again - Tishani Doshi, author of 'Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods'

A brilliant debut, about mothers and daughters, that manages be acerbic and brittle all at the same time Avni Doshi quietly, cleanly, slices through the heart... Impeccably insightful, carved from love, rage, and grief, here all embellishment is discarded, all artifice shorn - motherhood, family, memory, language - to reveal something devastating about our relationships, with ourselves and with those closest to us - Janice Pariat, author of 'The Nine-Chambered Heart'

Raw, wise and cuttingly funny on love and cruelty, marriage and motherhood, art and illness, and one woman's fight for her sense of self Daring and deliciously dark, Burnt Sugar will keep you gripped until the very last sentence Acerbic, full of wit and cool intelligence - every sentence is a coiled spring and each psychological portrait burns itself into the mind. I couldn't put it down Burnt Sugar straddles the line between pain and beauty. It makes the stomach churn. And, like all great literature, it prompts the question of the reader: is this you? - Bad Form

A raw, vividly described exploration of the toxic relationship between two women who are forever bound together - Good Housekeeping

A sly, slippery, often heartbreaking novel about the role memory plays within families - Stylist

Scouringly brilliant, a blazing debut that sticks in the mind like caramel blackened to the bottom of a pan... Doshi draws our relationships, both with the truth and with other people, with words that glitter sharp as shards of broken mirror - Buro.

This caustic tale of a destructive mother-daughter bond is as potent as its title might suggest... It bristles with sharp, chilly aphorisms... Doshi's visceral debut is a no-holds-barred excavation of how hate can both poison and sustain - Daily Mail

Subtle, intelligent, thrilling, visceral A corrosive, compulsive debut - Sunday Telegraph (five stars)

A masterclass. Crisp, engaging, perfectly tragic in the way that families often tend to be... Doshi writes sharply, in no-nonsense prose, not a single sentence in the book can be omitted... Avni Doshi is a force to watch out for in the literary world - Scroll

Arresting and fiercely intelligent, disarmingly witty and frank... Horror stories from the past seep into the present, as Doshi builds her portrait of a fractured mother-daughter relationship - Sunday Times

An unsettling, sinewy debut, startling in its venom and disarming in its humour from the very first sentence -

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241441510
Publication date: 30/07/2020
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241441510
Publication date: 30th July 2020
Author: Avni Doshi
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 240 pages
Genres: Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Intergenerational relationships,

About Avni Doshi

Avni Doshi was born in New Jersey in 1982 and is currently based in Dubai. She won the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2013 and a Charles Pick Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in 2014. Her debut novel, Burnt Sugar, is longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020. A version of the same novel is also published in India under the title Girl in White Cotton.

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