SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020
LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2021
WINNER OF THE SUSHILA DEVI AWARD 2021
NEW YORK TIMES 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2021
A searing debut novel about mothers and daughters, obsession and betrayal - for fans of Jenny Offill, Deborah Levy, Rachel Cusk and Diana Evans
'Beautifully written, emotionally wrenching and poignant in equal measure' The Booker Prize Judges 2020
'An unsettling, sinewy debut, startling in its venom and disarming in its humour from the very first sentence' Guardian
'I would be lying if I said my mother's misery has never given me pleasure.'
This is a tale of obsession and betrayal. This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers - between mother and daughter.
Tara and Antara, a woman and her angry shadow. But which one is which?
Sharp as a blade and compulsively readable, Burnt Sugar slowly untangles the knot of memory and rumour that binds two women together, revealing the truth that lies beneath.
'A work of extraordinary insight, courage and sophistication' Washington Post
'Arresting and fiercely intelligent, disarmingly witty and frank' Sunday Times
'A sly, slippery, often heartbreaking novel about the role memory plays within families' Stylist
'Extraordinary... Come for the effortlessly stylish writing, stay for the boiling wrath' Observer
Doshi's stunning second novel (after Girl in White Cotton), shortlisted for the Booker Prize, explores the murky, toxic relationship between a mother and daughter living in the Indian city of Pune. Antara, a reflective, recently married artist, notices something is off with her volatile, demanding mother, Tara. Doctors believe it's early-onset dementia but can't find biological evidence of the disease, causing Antara to wonder if her mother is willfully forgetting her. She concludes her mother named her Antara ("Un-Tara") "because she hated herself," setting up a dynamic in which the two women became pitted against each other. She reexamines her early years living in an ashram, where her mother landed after leaving her husband. There, Tara fell in love with the ashram leader but neglected her daughter, not seeing Antara for weeks at a time. The young Antara refused to eat and eventually resigned herself to self-sufficiency to avoid beatings from her mother. Tara's rejection of her daughter continues after Antara's grandparents send her to boarding school against her will and Tara neglects to intervene, and Tara later criticizes Antara's teenage body. Yet by the captivating conclusion, Tara's memory loss proves too much for Antara, causing the daughter to react in ways she never expected. Doshi's portrayal of troubled mother-daughter intimacy is viscerally poetic. This has the heft and expansiveness of a classic 19th-century novel.