Western Lane

Chetna Maroo author

Format:Hardback

Publisher:Pan Macmillan

Published:11th May '23

£14.99

Available for immediate dispatch.

Western Lane cover

A deeply moving exploration of an immigrant father's attempts to raise his family as a single parent, while consumed by his own grief and loss and struggling to recognize those of his children too.

A deeply moving exploration of an immigrant father’s attempts to raise his family as a single parent, while consumed by his own grief and loss and struggling to recognize those of his children too.

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2023
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2024
Longlisted for the William Hill Award 2023
A BBC Arts & The Reading Agency's Big Sporting Read selection

Selected by Dua Lipa as one of Service95's 'Books of the Year'

'A beautiful and evocative novel about grief, about growing up, about losing and winning. The people and places in this book will stay with me for a long time.' – Sally Rooney, author of Normal People

A deeply moving novel about grief, sisterhood and a teenage girl's struggle to transcend herself.


Eleven-year-old Gopi has been playing squash since she was old enough to hold a racket. When her mother dies, her father enlists her in a quietly brutal training regimen, and the game becomes her world. Slowly, she grows apart from her sisters. Her life is reduced to the sport, guided by its rhythms: the serve, the volley, the drive, the shot and its echo.

But on the court, she is not alone. She is with her pa. She is with Ged, a thirteen-year-old boy with his own formidable talent. She is with the players who have come before her. She is in awe.

An unforgettable coming-of-age story, Chetna Maroo’s Western Lane is an exploration of the closeness of sisterhood, the immigrant experience, and the collective overcoming of grief.

A 'Book of the Year' in The Economist, The Independent, The Week, TheNew York Times and The Guardian


'With this gorgeous debut, Maroo blows most of the competition off the court.' – The Times

'Stunning . . . Spare, tender, brilliantly achieved . . . A novel that unfolds in silences . . . and dares to leave much unsaid.' – The Guardian

'Western Lane is a beautiful and evocative novel about grief, about growing up, about losing and winning. The people and places in this book will stay with me for a long time.' -- Sally Rooney
A slim, subtle debut novel of grief and growing up that conjures a powerful panoply of emotions * The Economist, 'The Best Books of 2023' *
Stunning . . . Spare, tender, brilliantly achieved . . . A novel that unfolds in silences . . . and dares to leave much unsaid. * The Guardian *
A deeply evocative debut about a family grappling with grief, conveyed through crystalline language -- The Judges of the Booker Prize
This gorgeous tale about a family reeling from loss stands out from the debut crowd… This quiet, elegantly compressed coming-of-age novel . . . operates most powerfully in the gaps outside the plot . . . Few novelists write this simply and richly. With this gorgeous debut, Maroo blows most of the competition off the court. * The Times *
Maroo’s quiet sentences contain multitudes on cultural tensions and grief, on the wordless love between a father and a daughter. * The Telegraph *
Western Lane has a dreamy intensity . . . Exquisite * TLS *
Terrific . . . A symphony of emotion . . . A bold book and a quietly brilliant one * The Economist *
The beauty of Maroo’s novel lies in [its] unfolding, the narrative shaped as much by what is on the page as by what’s left unsaid . . . In this graceful novel, the game of squash becomes a way into Gopi’s grief and her attempts to process it. * The New York Times *
Melancholy is only one of the moods of this short but brimming book. Squash is also a channel for Gopi’s rage; for connections with other players and her longsuffering father; and for a joyous kind of freedom of expression. The novel ends with the tournament, as it must, and Ms. Maroo’s writing achieves its most graceful rhythms and prescient insights. You’ll want to applaud. * The Wall Street Journal *
A vivid depiction of grief, love and sisterhood * Independent *
Starting off as an intimate tone poem, this story of a squash-obsessed teenager expands into something with the amplitude, depth, and ringing power of a great symphony. In other words--WOW. Western Lane is glorious. You’ll want to read it over and over again. -- Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger
Combining the precision and the efficiency of an athlete with the mysteries of childhood loss and memory, Western Lane is a novel in which we linger on every breathing line and relish every close observation. What an exceptionally talented writer Chetna Maroo is!' -- Yiyun Li, author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Where Reasons End
[A] slim, subtle, moving story . . . about grief and growing up in a Gujarati family in Britain . . . A bold book [and] a quietly brilliant one. -- A D Miller, Booker-shortlisted author of Snowdrops
Chetna Maroo captures with great poignancy and accuracy the bewilderment and groping for meaning that loss brings—but also how small acts of kindness ultimately redeem us from this loss. Truly a gem of a novel, this deceptively simple story told in a sparse, elegant style kept revealing its depths long after I had closed its pages. -- Shyam Selvadurai, author of Funny Boy
Lean, agile, and quietly deadly, Western Lane is a coming-of-age story of extraordinary artistic maturity. It is a book of young people muscling themselves through unreconciled grief, and it is a book of simmering intensities, reverberating silences, and exquisite literary timing. This is a book to both share and treasure. -- David Chariandy, author of Brother
A profoundly resonant novel . . . This is a debut in which Chetna Maroo gets every choice right, even the riskier ones. It reminds me of Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills in that sense, and it has the same quality of being so calm, so confident, so close to the profound and yet rooted in real experience. The writing is beautiful and wise. * The Irish Times *

ISBN: 9781529094626

Dimensions: 224mm x 144mm x 23mm

Weight: 289g

176 pages