Sunday, 15 July 2012

Book of the Week - Nikita Lalwani, The Village

The Village is Nikita Lalwani’s second novel. I enjoyed her previous book, Gifted, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007 and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. She also won the Desmond Elliot Prize which to her considerable credit she donated to human rights organisation Liberty. Gifted can still be picked up for close to the original price, and I think is well worth holding on to. The Village has received generally strong reviews and she is definitely an author to watch.  Signed copies are available now if you look round.

“Ray, a young British-Asian woman arrives in the afternoon heat of a small village in India. She has come to live there for several months to make a documentary about the place. For this is no ordinary Indian village - the women collecting water at the well, the men chopping wood in the early morning light have all been found guilty of murder. The village is an open prison. Ray is accompanied by two British colleagues and, as the days pass, they begin to get closer to the lives of the inhabitants of the village. And then it feels too close. As the British visitors become desperate for a story, the distinction between innocence and guilt, between good intentions and horrifying results becomes horribly blurred. Set in a village modelled on a real-life open prison in India, The Village is a gripping story about manipulation and personal morality, about how truly frail our moral judgement can be. Nikita Lalwani has written a dazzling, heartfelt and disturbing novel which delivers on all the promise of her first.”

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