One family’s search for a better life: an immersive, kaleidoscopic debut for fans of Half of a Yellow Sun, Homegoing and Pachinko
‘Vast and intricate, alight with love and contained fury, A History of Burning is a towering debut by a phenomenal writer. A book I want to press into readers’ hands and discuss for hours’ Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING
India, 1898. Pirbhai is thirteen when he steps into a dhow on the vague promise of work; his family is suffering and he will do anything to help. The boat takes him to labour for the British on the East Africa railway. He has no money, no voice, no power – and will make impossible choices in the name of survival.
Sonal is fierce and loving, always willing to fight for what she believes in. When Pirbhai walks into her father’s shop, weathered but not broken from his time on the railway, she knows he is part of her future. Together they set out for a new life in Uganda.
So begins the story of their family. Parents, children and grandchildren will scatter across the world, fleeing the brutality of Idi Amin, forging new lives in London, marching for equality in 1990s Canada, searching for a safe mooring.
But under everything lies a secret. And one day, a letter arrives that will fan its embers into a flame.