Tomb of Sand

By Geetanjali Shree, Daisy Rockwell (translator),

Book cover of Tomb of Sand

Book description


A playful, feminist, and utterly original epic set in contemporary northern India, about a family and the inimitable octogenarian matriarch at its heart.

“A tale tells itself. It can be complete, but also incomplete, the way all tales are. This particular tale has…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Tomb of Sand as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is the story of a family in India, centering around an aging mother and grandmother. It is a well-observed account of family dynamics.

Ma is in search of her younger self, lost in the violent upheavals of the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. My reading group friends were divided over this book, mostly because of its substantial length, but I found it delightful and it has stayed with me. An often joyous, sometimes nightmarish, baggy novel full of whimsical flights of fancy with butterflies, blackbirds, crows, saris, and bangles.

You can wander around in this book and become…

Set in India, the central story traces the transformation of 80-year-old Ma, who is depressed after the death of her husband. Suddenly she decides to travel to Pakistan, confronting past traumas connected to the Partition riots. She is accompanied by Rosie, a hijra who is her best and wisest friend. The book is not just about its protagonists, but full of divertissements that tackle the meaning of relationships, memory, and time. There are also talking crows and a sequence of “performance art” when writers of the Partition take the page-as-stage.

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