Over the course of a night in police custody, a young woman tries to understand the rage that led her to assault a refugee on the Paris metro. She too is a foreigner, now earning a living as an interpreter for asylum seekers in the outskirts of the city.Over the course of a night in police custody, a young woman tries to understand the rage that led her to assault a refugee on the Paris metro. She too is a foreigner, now earning a living as an interpreter for asylum seekers in the outskirts of the city. Translating the stories of men and women who come from her country of birth, into the language of her country of citizenship, Sinha's narrator finds herself caught up in a tangle of lies and truths. Armed with an acerbic sense of humour she exposes prejudices on all sides.
'A *provocative and visceral* book about class, caste, fear and self-loathing, exposing the real generational damage Imperialism wreaks on brown minds. Shumona Sinha gets inside the skin of an everyday woman turned monster by the system: *her voice grips the imagination and does not let go.*' - *Preti Taneja*, author of Aftermath; 'A novel *as singular in its subject matter as in its language and unbridled energy*. Through the poetic force of her writing, Sinha brings a broken world to burning point.' - *Le Monde*; 'Sinha lays bare so much of the nuance and violence imposed on individuals by the systems in the world meant to keep certain people down.' - Emma Ramadan, translator of Me & Other Writing by Marguerite Duras; 'Shumona Sinha's singular voice takes us into the nauseating world of bureaucracy, without heroes or pure-hearted victims. She does not condemn anyone, or perhaps she condemns everyone. Welcome to the real world.' - Grazia; 'Indian poet Shumona Sinha has transformed Baudelaire's poetic provocation into a strange and blazing reflection on violence.' - Marianne; 'The accuracy and power of her innovations in vocabulary and metaphor are striking. There is Kafka and Duras in these pages. But also Pascal Quignard whose reflection on the Greeks' belief in the fundamental freedom to go wherever one wants is emphasised at the start of this beautiful novel. Sinha has taken it as the alpha and omega of her writing, enriched with a dazzling and original poetic vitality.' - Tirthankar Chanda, Radio France Internationale; 'A harsh lucidity, often misunderstood by those who, like Sinha, come from far away, looking for a better world. She is similar yet different. And that is the heart of the question - the knot, which she is trying to untangle, of her belonging and her rejection. It is both fascinating and gratifying.' - Quinzaine litteraire; 'A striking book, infinitely harsh on exile, on society and its mirrors, its wounded memory. The author describes the nightmare of aimless wandering and the pain of being reduced to a bureaucratic checklist.' - Telerama; Further praise for Shumona Sinha; 'A seasoned novelist, Shumona Sinha travels between past and present, public unrest and private histories' - L'Express, for Calcutta; 'Longstanding tensions and bewildering modernity: the narrator sifts through the ashes before roaming through "the clutter of dreams". She succeeds in creating an intimate, nostalgic and serious book; a journey to her birthplace, her family and her abandoned language which is also the story of her country's political history.' -Telerama, for Calcutta
- Winner of Prix Valery-Larbaud 2012
- Winner of Prix Populiste 2011