A Burning by Megha Majumdar


For readers of Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, and Jhumpa Lahiri, an electrifying debut novel about three unforgettable characters who seek to rise—to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies—and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India.

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“A juggernaut of complicity, conscience, and class ascension.

Moving between characters, each intertwined with each other and an act of sedition, Majumdar reveals both the characters’ inner desires and society’s role in holding them back. Each of their stories shows just how quickly power can corrupt and manipulate, how readily people looking for a way to be anyone but who they are, willfully disregard truth, justice, and their morality.

This is a propulsive read, a searing knife that cuts cleanly through the promises and consequences of such corruption and exposes the humans who fall for them.”


Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely—an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor—has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar
Epilogue BCB