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These, Our Bodies, Possessed By Light

Shortlisted | Book Awards 2020 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)

These, Our Bodies, Possessed By Light

Author: Dharini Bhaskar
Publisher: Hachette India

Award Category: Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
About the Book: 

'Maybe all of us are no more than Venn diagrams - our personal biographies and those of our relations colliding to create the teardrop of our selves.'

Until now, Deeya has found an unquiet contentment in the memories of her affair with an older man and in a spare but tolerable marriage. Then, Neil comes into her life, offering a heady romance and a new identity. Will Deeya give their fledgling relationship a chance?

Perhaps the seeds of her answer have already been sown by her family - by her grandmother and mother, both of whom have been compelled to make complex negotiations with love.

As Deeya confronts their stories, she must decide: Will she upend her family's history and build a narrative of her own? Or is she - as are all of us - destined to carry forward the concessions and mutinies of our ancestors?

Refreshing in its vision and assured in its craft, These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light is a remarkable debut about (un)sanctioned memory, uncommon love, and the claims of familial history.


About the Author: 

Born in Bombay, Dharini Bhaskar has at various points also called Britain, Greece and Delhi home. Dharini was the former editorial director of Simon and Schuster India and was one of five young Indian writers selected for Caravan's Writers of India Festival, Paris. She has been published in an anthology, Day's End Stories, and in Hindu Blink and Arre, among other publications. When she isn't writing, Dharini backpacks, reads, and finds immense joy in being brought up by her son.


Review: 

'In her masterful debut, Dharini Bhaskar gives us a young woman hovering at a crossroads in her life - and before she chooses, she must first consider the lives and loves of the women who came before her and whose choices both bind her and set her free. With a poet's easy grace with language and a philosopher's comfort with ambiguity, she traces how each one of us contains multitudes - and shows us, in a way we can never forget, how family is both the greatest fact and fiction of all.' - Chandrahas Choudhury

'Dharini Bhaskar's writing has the muscles of light - in her first novel she takes us to places that we haven't seen before, places left invisible by life and literature. In this deeply moving novel, we encounter a family of women related by the inheritance of confusion - there were times I found my hand touching their names on the page, as if reaching out to hold them, to tell them that we were there, their relatives, waiting outside the novel. I think I understand the punctuations of my pain better after reading this book.' - Sumana Roy

'Dharini Bhaskar's first novel is a beautifully structured exploration of a Tamil family that comes to settle in Mumbai. Their world is presented through the experiences of five women: three sisters, their mother, and their grandmother. The action moves beyond Mumbai, to Delhi, Norway, and the US. The men in their lives arrive like magical driftwood, strike against them, drift away. Some manage to stay put. Weaving all of this into a dense emotional tapestry is an undercurrent of legend and mythology. A first book, a fine achievement, truly an auspicious beginning!' - Gieve Patel

'The novel jump-cuts from a village in South India with a large family to a pub in England and a photographer of overage retired ships. But the narrative is seamless and written with a verve and passion that could be the envy of other novelists. An unforgettable read, dotted with pensive moments and uncertainties.' - Keki N. Daruwalla


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