The Global Reading Challenge 2011: Asia.
This Indian psychological thriller is the writer´s second stand-alone, but the first one published in Britain.
“I turn around again and, shivering in the cold rain, try to scrub my footprints in the rain water but the blood still pours out of the house, and the footprings form again, perfect and recognizable.”
This is a dream, but fourteen-year-old Durga´s life is not much better when she is awake. The police found her in her home, barely alive, among thirteen relatives who were dead. They had been poisoned, and afterwards someone had tried to set the house on fire.
Though she has been abused and tied up, the police suspect that Durga is not a victim but the perpetrator so now she is waiting for the trial. One police officer is not certain, though, so he calls in an old friend, the very unusual social worker Simran Singh. Simran doubts that the frail, traumatised girl can have committed the atrocious carnage on her family, so she sticks her stubborn nose in everybody´s affairs and does what she can to uncover the truth.
An intriguing story with a strong, determined female protagonist who struggles to manoeuvre in a world of powerful men – and mothers who confirm the prejudice that girls are worthless. The most impressive aspect of the story is the insight it offers into the conditions of women in an Indian town which means it was a perfect pick for my two challenges. Come back for more about this subject tomorrow: When Girls Don´t Count.
The book was sent to me by Maxine whose review you can find here.