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Summary

“Immersive…masterly… the elements of a thriller are transmuted into prismatic portraiture… A Burning has a similar urgency of appeal [to Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.] Its characters are at the very front of the stage, and we can feel their breath… Her spare plot moves with arrowlike determination…I can’t remember when I last read a novel that so quickly dismantled the ordinary skepticism that attends the reading of made-up stories. Early Naipaul comes to mind as a precursor, and perhaps Akhil Sharma’s stupendously vivid novel “Family Life.”… It’s only at the end of this brief, brave novel that one becomes fully aware of how broad its judgments have been, how fierce and absolute its condemnations. Through the gaps that open up among and behind these three characters, a large Indian panoply emerges.” —James Wood, The New Yorker