The Village: A Novel
Publication date: July 2013
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
In her award-winning debut novel, Gifted, Nikita Lalwani crafted a brilliant coming-of-age story that “[called] to mind the work of such novelists as Zadie Smith and Monica Ali” (The Washington Post Book World). Now Lalwani turns her gimlet eye on an extraordinary village in India, and explores the thin boundary between morality and evil, innocence and guilt.
After a long trip from London, twenty-seven-year-old BBC filmmaker Ray Bhullar arrives at the remote Indian village of Ashwer, which will be the subject of her newest documentary. From the outside, the town projects a cozy air of domesticity—small huts bordering earthen paths, men lounging and drinking tea, women guiding bright cloth through noisy sewing machines. Yet Ashwer is far from traditional. It is an experimental open prison, a village of convicted murderers and their families.
As Ray and her crew settle in, they seek to win the trust of Ashwer’s residents and administrators: Nandini, a women’s counselor and herself an inmate; Jyoti, a prisoner’s wife who is raising her children on the grounds; Sujay, the progressive founder and governor of the society. Ray aims to portray Ashwer as a model of tolerance, yet the longer she and her colleagues stay, the more their need for a dramatic story line intensifies. And as Ray’s moral judgment competes with her professional obligation, her assignment takes an uneasy and disturbing turn.
Incisive, moving, and superbly written, The Village deftly examines the limits of empathy, the slipperiness of reason, and the strength of our principles in the face of personal gain.
Praise for Gifted
Longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize
Shortlisted for the 2007 Costa First Novel Award
“Arresting . . . [a] coming-of-age story full of the mingled love and anger that animate families of every culture . . . [Gifted] calls to mind the work of such novelists as Zadie Smith and Monica Ali.”—The Washington Post Book World
“[Nikita Lalwani] infuses all her characters with humanity. . . . Lalwani has a talent for pacing and surprise, and her novel is a page-turner.”—Chicago Tribune
“Superb . . . brilliantly realized . . . unflinchingly and tenderly written.”—The Independent (U.K.)
“Poignant . . . [Lalwani] gets deep inside hyper-wound-up math prodigy Rumi Vasi.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[A] touching, funny, finely calibrated novel.”—The Observer