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At 18, musical prodigy Janaki Venkatakrishnan escapes her father’s plans for an arranged marriage, fleeing her village for the bright lights of Bombay. She leaves behind a gaggle of gossip-mongering old women, but also her younger sister Mallika, who is forced to take care of their increasingly unhinged father. But ten years later, when Janaki announces her return and demands a meeting with Mallika, the buried past is once again excavated. In a span of seven days, memories and misgivings, innocence and wisdom, everyday truths and family secrets are laid bare as the two sisters prepare to face each other, and their childhood experiences, once and for all. Ameen Merchant’s poignant and ambitious debut novel, at once intensely imagined and sensitively nuanced, shines an unsparing light on the complex subject of family obligations and sibling relationships.

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