by Melody Razak

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Sharing Diverse Voices Book Club Recommendations Star Books

LoveReading Expert Review of Moth

A stunningly beautiful yet heart-wrenching story that focuses on one family during Partition in 1940’s India. We declare it a must-read.

Moth is absolutely gorgeous. Fair warning, it broke my heart, but is still completely and utterly gorgeous! Partition in India slices the country through its soul, one liberal family find themselves adrift and battling for survival. Set in 1940’s Delhi this story focuses on family, and in particular women as the world around them boils with political unrest and danger. The beauty and pain of the prologue turned my thoughts inside out, I had to stop for a moment before carrying on. The awareness of the prologue stayed with me as I continued to read, consume, feel. This is Melody Razak’s debut novel and was written on long train journeys across India. Here she takes an intimate story set in an epic, huge moment in history, and makes it feel real. Snippets and slices of all emotions are brought together to form the most wonderfully told story that highlights the tragedy that falls. Her writing caught me, lulled me, shocked me, seduced me. She writes with huge compassion, the smallest of details weave together to form a vivid and vibrant tapestry of life. It is all too easy to imagine this happening anywhere in the world, yet among all the pain is strength and hope. The moments of calm, love, humour, sharing, and kindness all combine to ensure that you can still feel delight among the pain. Oh, and I must just mention the stunning cover too, it matches the beauty within. Moth, so exquisitely emotional, powerful, and harrowing, will be one of my favourite books of the year, it is so special, I just had to choose it as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson

Moth Synopsis

Delhi, 1946

Ma and Bappu are liberal intellectuals teaching at the local university. Their fourteen year-old daughter - precocious, headstrong Alma - is soon to be married: Alma is mostly interested in the wedding shoes and in spinning wild stories for her beloved younger sister Roop, a restless child obsessed with death.

Times are bad for girls in India. The long-awaited independence from British rule is heralding a new era of hope, but also of anger and distrust. Political unrest is brewing, threatening to unravel the rich tapestry of Delhi - a city where different cultures, religions and traditions have co-existed for centuries.

When Partition happens and the British Raj is fractured overnight, this wonderful family is violently torn apart, and its members are forced to find increasingly desperate ways to survive.

But the resilience of the human spirit is an extraordinary thing...

What To Read After Moth

The Song of Achilles
The Attic Child
Land Of Love And Drowning
The Betrayals

Melody Razak Press Reviews

Powerful and heartbreaking... The book's primary and unflinching focus is the female members of the household: Ma, her daughters Alma and Roop, among others, all drawn with such skill and love that they remain with you long after the final sentence. - OBSERVER (Ten Debut Novelists of 2021)

Gripping... Razak painstakingly paints a portrait of a family; their rituals, their private languages, their shared lives. This careful characterisation pays off, heartbreakingly, when the horrors of partition wreak havoc on small, happy lives. - THE TIMES

I adored Moth. It's rare for a writer to appear fully-formed, but that's how I see Melody Razak: this is a remarkable novel and one of the best debuts I've ever read. It made my heart swell. - Sarah Winman, author of TIN MAN and STILL LIFE

I was utterly transported by Moth. In exquisite prose, Melody Razak takes us right to the heart and the heat of Partition-era Delhi - a fracturing city, a fracturing nation and a family attempting to hold themselves together when everything threatens to tear them apart. Moth is a rare, winged delight - able to stare unflinchingly into the darkness, while always illuminated by a fierce love for life. A stunning, powerful work by a brave new voice in British fiction. - Anna Hope, author of EXPECTATION

Moth is a powerful and moving story of a liberal, Brahmin family caught up in the violence and social unrest of post-partition India. It is written with absolute fidelity to the small rituals of daily life, the allegiances and jealousies within families, and the huge and overwhelming forces of history. Every character springs from the page, involving the reader completely in their triumphs and sufferings - the writer's skill and sympathy are immense. I loved it. - Clare Chambers, author of SMALL PLEASURES

From the first beautiful and terrifying pages I couldn't put Moth down. The assurance of tone, the loving faithfulness to the complexity of family dynamics and female experience , the celebration of humanity and resilience amid the horrors of Partition all make for one of the most immersive reading experiences I can remember. I loved this book. - Sally Magnusson, author of THE SEALWOMAN'S GIFT

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781474619257
Publication date: 09/06/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781474619233
Publication date: 24/06/2021
Format: Hardback

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