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A History of Burning

"Both intimate and epic as it traverses centuries and countries - from India, Kenya and Uganda, to England and Canada – this dazzling debut explores a family’s search for home."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Janika Oza’s A History of Burning is the kind of ambitious, accomplished debut that fans of family-centred historic fiction will be excited by, and left feeling excited to see what the writer does next.

Recommended for readers who loved Half of a Yellow Sun, it follows four generations from 1898 through to the 1990s, from India to Canada, taking in the tides of colonialism and political change through a family you come to feel close to.

The story begins in India in 1898, when thirteen-year-old Pirbhai leaves home on the basis of an ambiguous promise of finding work. He has nothing, but hopes for everything. A pivotal moment comes when Pirbhai meets Sonal in her father’s store in Kenya. Their lives become inextricably bound when they journey to Uganda, settle and have children. Later, their granddaughters are born into an era of tremendous turmoil. The nation is divided; the tension and dangers are palpable.

Through the women, and their remarkable relationship with their grandparents, and through the family’s dispersal around the world, in search of a safe home, we witness global shifts and survival. We see unbreakable bonds, we’re swept into the pain of estrangement, and also the tides of hope.

Joanne Owen

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