Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Where the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow

By Rashi Rohatgi

Galaxy Galloper     2020
270 pages    Historical Fiction
The Shortlist

Here is the book summary:
“It's 1905, and the Japanese victory over the Russians has shocked the British and their imperial subjects. Sixteen-year-old Leela and her younger sister, Maya, are spurred on to wear homespun to show the British that the Indians won't be oppressed for much longer, either, but when Leela's betrothed, Nash, asks her to circulate a petition amongst her classmates to desegregate the girls' school in Chandrapur, she's wary. She needs to remind Maya that the old ways are not all bad, for soon Maya will have to join her own betrothed and his family in their quiet village. When she discovers that Maya has embarked on a forbidden romance, Leela's response shocks her family, her town, and her country firmly into the new century.

India in the early 1900s is a part of history that I knew very little about, other than a couple of movies—Gandhi, and A Passage to India. I had a vague understanding of the conflict between the Hindu and Muslim cultures of India and Pakistan, a subject dealt with extensively in the book. The two young women are attempting to negotiate life during a volatile time in Indian history. I enjoyed reading about the role of women and how Maya and Leela were attempting to alter history.

I found the novelized history of that time to be fascinating, knowing that the Hindu-Muslim conflict continues in the region. The Kirkus reviewer says, “The novel does an excellent job of placing readers directly into the politics of the time, highlighting the clash between old and new and between the region’s various subcultures.”

I am even more fascinated by the biography of the author Rashi Rohalgi, Wow! I would really like to meet her! She has studied marginalized peoples and lesser-known histories and is a professor of world literature in Norway. You will need to read her biography on her website to get the full picture of her incredible life journey. Here, also, is an interview with her as the book Where the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow was released earlier this week.

Beautiful characters. Beautiful cover. Fans of historical fiction will really enjoy this book.

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