The Parted Earth

Anjali Enjeti (Southbound) tells the story of Partition through the lives of two families in her deeply emotional first novel, The Parted Earth. Deepa is happy with her life in New Delhi, going to school and helping out at her Hindu parents' medical clinic. But riots and hate fill the streets as mid-August 1947--the planned time for the formal division of British India into two countries--approaches. Amid the chaos, Deepa's Muslim boyfriend, Amir, flees to Lahore with his family, leaving behind only an origami note with a promise to return for Deepa.

Decades later, in Atlanta, Deepa's mixed-race granddaughter Shan is reeling from a miscarriage and a shattered marriage. Trying to piece together her family's story, she uncovers new information about the grandmother she's met only once. Enjeti moves between these two eras, deftly portraying Shan's inner conflict about her identity and the father who never told her why he moved back to India, as well as Deepa's suffering when her world is upended. With the help of a neighbor, Chandani, Shan makes discoveries about her roots that may lead to her own healing.

Enjeti does not spare her readers the bloody details of Partition: families torn apart, as well as vandalism, arson and other forms of violence. Her narrative urges readers to bear witness to this difficult episode of history. But, like her characters, Enjeti ultimately reaches for hope. The Parted Earth is a testament to the tremendous strength of the people of India and Pakistan who found the courage to begin again. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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