“India is going to be broken. Can one break a country? And what happens if they break it where our house is?”
From “Pakistan’s finest English-language novelist” (New York Times), a spellbinding tale of a young girl’s coming of age during the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. As the young daughter of an affluent Parsee family in Lahore, Lenny is keenly observant of the city’s astonishing diversity. Crippled by polio but lively in spirit, she spends many of her days in Queen’s Park, basking in the hot sun and listening to a colorful cast of characters—Muslims and Hindus, Christians and Sikhs—discuss poetry, love, and politics. But as Lahore descends into sectarian violence, Lenny’s innocence is lost, and with it the fragile unity of a nation.
Richly imagined and eminently contemporary, Cracking India is “one of the finest responses made to the horror of the subdivision of the continent” (New Yorker).
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Praise and Prizes
“Cracking India is a novel in which heartbreak coexists with slapstick, where awful jokes about forefathers and foreskins give way to lines of glowing beauty. The author’s capacity for bringing an assortment of characters vividly to life is enviable. . . . Bapsi Sidhwa has given us a memorable book, one that confirms her reputation as Pakistan’s finest English-language novelist.”
“Bapsi Sidhwa has told a sweet and amusing tale filled with the worst atrocities imaginable; she has concocted a girlishly romantic love story which is driven by the most militant feminism; above all, she has turned her gaze upon the domestic comedy of a Pakistani family in the 1940s and somehow managed to evoke the great political upheavals of the age. . . . A mysterious and wonderful novel.”
“Cracking India is one of the finest responses made to the horror of the division of the subcontinent.”
“With understated prose and a seemingly simple narrative, Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel conveys the human suffering of Partition far more effectively than a dozen history books. . . . Cracking India illustrates the power of good fiction: a historical tragedy comes alive, yielding insight into both the past and the subcontinent’s turbulent present.”
“Much has written about the holocaust that followed Partition in 1947. . . . But seldom has that story been told as touchingly, as convincingly, or as horrifyingly as it has been by Bapsi Sidhwa.”
“Cracking India heralds a burgeoning literary talent. . . . The novel’s politics are effectively juxtaposed against a lush, sensual center, as the author’s prose lingers on the hot, dry Lahore streets, the warm breezes against thin saris, the pungent smells of mango. A novel to savor.”