Tell Her Everything
Nominated | Book Awards 2020 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
Tell Her Everything
Winner of ‘The Hindu Prize 2019’ (Fiction)
‘You see, Sara, it had to happen … I couldn’t have prevented it, could I? It could have been anyone, and it was me. It had to happen to someone, and it was me. Think about it. Of all the men in the world, of all the doctors in the world, of all the fathers in the whole world, I happened to be the one present in that place at that time. Someone or the other had to do it. It just so happens that that someone was your dad.’
Where does one draw the line between empathy and sacrifice? Between integrity and survival? Between prosperity and love?
In an unnamed city, a young Indian doctor arrives to make his home and career. It isn’t long before money and success find him, but the price is steep and often unbearable, especially to a wife and daughter who must watch him walk the perilous path of lifelong ambition.
A heartbreaking novel about human ethics, filial love and the corrosive nature of complicity.
Mirza Waheed was born and brought up in Kashmir. His debut novel, The Collaborator, was an international bestseller, a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and the Shakti Bhatt Prize, and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. It was also a book of the year for The Telegraph, New Statesman, Financial Times, Business Standard and The Telegraph (India), among others.
His novel, The Book of Gold Leaves, was published in 2014 to critical acclaim. It was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016, longlisted for the Folio Prize and was a finalist at the 2015 Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year (Fiction).
Mirza has written for the BBC, The Guardian, Granta, Guernica, Al Jazeera (English) and The New York Times.
Waheed’s work comes at a time when we have pushed the bar lower and lower about what we can say and do with impunity. This is a simple yet powerful book in itself, but the rudderlessness of these times makes it resonate with an even deeper urgency.” – The Hindu Literary Review
“Tell Her Everything, unlike Waheed’s two previous novels, has nothing to do with Kashmir, but reading it in the wake of Balakot, or more particularly the Indian media’s coverage of Balakot, it’s hard not to see how far collaboration can extend. And how we are all Dr K” – India Today
“The triumph of Tell Her Everything is that it slithers away from neat categories. It is a love story. But it is not just that. It is a thriller. But the big reveal is a series of smaller disclosures. It is a political novel. But it doesn’t deal with politics. It is a monologue. But it is also a conversation. It could be a memoir. But it is more of a confession” – Open
“Tell Her Everything is never short of compelling; the novel raises moral and ethical questions. It is an engaging read that would appeal to a variety of readers, each for a different reason” – The Book Review
“Tell Her Everything tells the story of a doctor wracked by a guilty past; its plot raises a number of knotty moral questions about the nature and origins of evil” – Mint Lounge
“Tell Her Everything is a sedate exploration of moral accountability, of the ethics and emotions of morality. It is a study of the interior life of a man tormented by his complicity” – Hindustan Times
“Without compromising on the narrative style, Waheed sets out to tell a tale—one that is narrated by the protagonist, an Indian doctor named Kaiser Shah, to his daughter, Sara—of pain, distress and the involvement of ordinary people in State-sanctioned violence” – The Telegraph
“Waheed illuminates the most difficult truth of all—the Indian quest to pull oneself up by the bootstraps is usually at the cost of participating in systems of exploitation” – Huffington Post