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Burnt Sugar
Cover of Burnt Sugar
Burnt Sugar
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020: A searing, compulsively readable story of mothers and daughters, memory and madness, love and betrayal

PICKED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 BY the Guardian, Economist, Spectator and more...

'Arresting and fiercely intelligent, disarmingly witty and frank' Sunday Times
'Utterly compelling, unflinching, written with poignancy and memorability' The Booker Prize Judges 2020
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her arranged marriage to join an ashram, took a hapless artist for a lover, rebelled against every social expectation of a good Indian woman - all with her young child in tow. Years on, she is an old woman with a fading memory, mixing up her maid's wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a mother who never seemed to care for her.
This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers - between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar gradually untangles the knot of memory and myth that bind two women together, revealing the truth that lies beneath.
'An unsettling, sinewy debut, startling in its venom and disarming in its humour from the very first sentence' Guardian
'A corrosive, compulsive debut' Daily Telegraph (*****)
'Scouringly brilliant, a blazing debut with words that glitter sharp as shards of broken mirror' Buro.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020: A searing, compulsively readable story of mothers and daughters, memory and madness, love and betrayal

PICKED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 BY the Guardian, Economist, Spectator and more...

'Arresting and fiercely intelligent, disarmingly witty and frank' Sunday Times
'Utterly compelling, unflinching, written with poignancy and memorability' The Booker Prize Judges 2020
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her arranged marriage to join an ashram, took a hapless artist for a lover, rebelled against every social expectation of a good Indian woman - all with her young child in tow. Years on, she is an old woman with a fading memory, mixing up her maid's wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a mother who never seemed to care for her.
This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers - between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar gradually untangles the knot of memory and myth that bind two women together, revealing the truth that lies beneath.
'An unsettling, sinewy debut, startling in its venom and disarming in its humour from the very first sentence' Guardian
'A corrosive, compulsive debut' Daily Telegraph (*****)
'Scouringly brilliant, a blazing debut with words that glitter sharp as shards of broken mirror' Buro.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Avni Doshi was born in New Jersey in 1982 and is currently based in Dubai. She won the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2013 and a Charles Pick Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in 2014. Her debut novel, Burnt Sugar, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020. The novel is published in India as Girl in White Cotton, where it won the Sushila Devi Award 2021.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 11, 2021
    Doshi’s stunning second novel (after Girl in White Cotton), shortlisted for the Booker Prize, explores the murky, toxic relationship between a mother and daughter living in the Indian city of Pune. Antara, a reflective, recently married artist, notices something is off with her volatile, demanding mother, Tara. Doctors believe it’s early-onset dementia but can’t find biological evidence of the disease, causing Antara to wonder if her mother is willfully forgetting her. She concludes her mother named her Antara (“Un-Tara”) “because she hated herself,” setting up a dynamic in which the two women became pitted against each other. She reexamines her early years living in an ashram, where her mother landed after leaving her husband. There, Tara fell in love with the ashram leader but neglected her daughter, not seeing Antara for weeks at a time. The young Antara refused to eat and eventually resigned herself to self-sufficiency to avoid beatings from her mother. Tara’s rejection of her daughter continues after Antara’s grandparents send her to boarding school against her will and Tara neglects to intervene, and Tara later criticizes Antara’s teenage body. Yet by the captivating conclusion, Tara’s memory loss proves too much for Antara, causing the daughter to react in ways she never expected. Doshi’s portrayal of troubled mother-daughter intimacy is viscerally poetic. This has the heft and expansiveness of a classic 19th-century novel.

  • Sunday Times Extraordinary. Exquisitely written, painfully exhilarating, impossible to put down... An elegant family story that sizzles with hatred... Come for the effortlessly stylish writing, stay for the boiling wrath
  • Sunday Telegraph (five stars) A masterclass. Crisp, engaging, perfectly tragic in the way that families often tend to be... Doshi writes sharply, in no-nonsense prose, not a single sentence in the book can be omitted... Avni Doshi is a force to watch out for in the literary world
  • Good Housekeeping When does self-determination become selfishness? What can you learn from a bad mother? ...Sorrowful, sceptical and electrifyingly truthful about mothers and daughters
  • Janice Pariat, author of 'The Nine-Chambered Heart' A raw, vividly described exploration of the toxic relationship between two women who are forever bound together
  • Tishani Doshi, author of 'Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods' Burnt Sugar straddles the line between pain and beauty. It makes the stomach churn. And, like all great literature, it prompts the question of the reader: is this you?
  • Diksha Basu, author of 'The Windfall' Acerbic, full of wit and cool intelligence - every sentence is a coiled spring and each psychological portrait burns itself into the mind. I couldn't put it down
  • Indian Express Daring and deliciously dark, Burnt Sugar will keep you gripped until the very last sentence
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Burnt Sugar
Burnt Sugar
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020
Avni Doshi
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