Micro review: ‘Independence’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


Set against India’s independence movement, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s latest historical fiction novel is a deeply moving story of sisterhood and friendship in the midst of a nation which is being divided. The book was also Shortlisted for the AutHer Awards 2023 in Fiction category.
Painting an account of India’s independence, Devikaruni narrates the tale of a nation about to be born, through the eyes of three sisters– Priya, Jamini and Deepa– from Ranipur in Bengal. When their father, Dr Ganguly, is killed on Direct Action Day and their own neighbours turn against them, their world suddenly turns upside-down. The eldest sister falls in love with a youth Muslim leader causing her to break with her family… When India is partitioned, the sisters find themselves separated from one another, afraid of what will happen to not only themselves, but also to each other. The sisters soon realise the price they have to pay for independence in a conflict-torn country and how it will change their lives forever.

‘Independence’ is a moving retelling of India’s Partition and of loyalty and love, nationhood and sisterhood– all in one. Divakaruni’s book sheds light on the issue of communal violence which takes the reader into imaginaries that seems to be running in front of their eyes.
How critics view the book:
Kirkus Reviews says, “A moving depiction of family life following great loss. An engaging family saga that explores resilience against a backdrop of violent national upheaval.”

Amitav Ghosh called it, “A spellbinding saga of the decolonisation and partition of the Indian subcontinent, with a cast of vividly drawn, compelling characters.”

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