Arts & Leisure

Book review: A Burning — by Megha Majumdar

(Knopf Publishing Group)  
When an inflammatory social media post gets a young woman arrested, the story begins. Set in contemporary India, Jivan is a young Muslim woman accused of committing a terrorist attack on the train station near her home in the slums. Lovely, who is marginalized even beyond living almost as an exile, and PT Sir, Jivan’s former gym teacher who was most impressed with Jivan when he was her instructor, could both be instrumental in her salvation, but are they willing to risk their own comforts to do so? Three characters’ stories, told from three points of view, each finely crafted to exist as separate strands, form the interconnected structure of this book. The voices are pure and clear, and in some cases, heartbreakingly innocent. What I am really enjoying in this current crop of contemporary literature, like this debut novel or Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half or Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age, is how they tackle substantial and weighty issues — racism, terrorism — yet they present them in very well-written, briskly-paced, and thrilling novels. The tension is built in, and the reader is so immersed and involved, it’s impossible to put down. This is a relatively quick, but definitely rewarding, read. 
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of the Vermont Book Shop
 

#ownvoices Adult Fiction
Afterlife, by Julia Alvarez
The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
How Much of These Hills Is Gold, by C Pam Zhang
The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
Conjure Women, by Afia Atakora
Deacon King Kong, by James McBride  

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