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The House Next to the Factory


Longlisted | Book Awards 2022 | English Fiction

The House Next to the Factory

Full Title: The House Next to the Factory

Author: Sonal Kohli
Publisher: Harper Collins India

Award Category: English Fiction
About the Book: 

In quietly ambitious prose, Sonal Kohli charts the turbulent three decades of a 'rising' India. ~Pankaj Mishra

[Sonal Kohli] has a way of absorbing the reader in her world, and also revealing very delicately how that world is surprising, unexpected, and in flux. ~Amit Chaudhuri

Spare yet astutely detailed ... evokes entire lives through just a few deft strokes. ~Sharanya Manivannan

One of the most pleasurable works of fiction I've read in a long time. ~Chandrahas Choudhury

Sonal Kohli tells all the truth slant and the result is a very fine collection of stories about a set of seemingly commonplace lives. ~Anjum Hasan

A paean to quiet lives everywhere and a testament to the often-overlooked power of the ordinary. ~Madhuri Vijay


Set largely in Delhi between 1980 and 2010, the nine interlinked stories in The House Next to the Factory follow Kavya and her post-Partition immigrant family, their servants, tutors, cousins and lovers, their loneliness, aspirations and small-scale ambitions.

Life in the house is humdrum and confining, but on a rare evening Kavya sets out in search of a nun; a beloved teacher is caught in the aftermath of the anti-Sikh riots; in England, an aunt reads William Trevor and pines for all that she has left behind; the family's steel utensil business blossoms, and amid the clanging of metal and the churning of machines, the household transitions from bourgeois to elite. Yet at thirty, Kavya finds herself in Paris, hoping to get past the sorrows of her young life...

Delicate and finely textured, Sonal Kohli's extraordinary debut lays bare the complexities of class and culture, even as it evokes the loves and triumphs, the pull of incongruous desires and the tragedies of everyday life.

About the Author: 

Sonal Kohli grew up in Delhi and now lives in Washington, D.C. She has an MA in Creative Writing from UEA, and a BA in Economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Her stories have been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize and the Fish Short Story Prize. This is her first book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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