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Burnt Sugar: A Novel
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ABRAMS 2021
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Description
Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, a searing literary debut novel set in India about mothers and daughters, obsession and betrayal
"I would be lying if I say my mother's misery has never given me pleasure," says Antara, Tara's now-adult daughter.
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her marriage to join an ashram, and while Tara is busy as a partner to the ashram's spiritual leader, Baba, little Antara is cared for by an older devotee, Kali Mata, an American who came to the ashram after a devastating loss. Tara also embarks on a stint as a beggar (mostly to spite her affluent parents) and spends years chasing a disheveled, homeless artist, all with young Antara in tow. But now Tara is forgetting things, and Antara is an adult––an artist and married––and must search for a way to make peace with a past that haunts her as she confronts the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her.
Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar unpicks the slippery, choking cord of memory and myth that binds mother and daughter. Is Tara's memory loss real? Are Antara's memories fair? In vivid and visceral prose, Tibor Jones South Asia Prize–winning writer Avni Doshi tells a story, at once shocking and empathetic, about love and betrayal between a mother and a daughter. A journey into shifting memories, altering identities, and the subjective nature of truth, Burnt Sugar is a stunning and unforgettable debut.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/26/2021
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781647002268
ASIN:
B08JG4ZZXW
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Avni Doshi. (2021). Burnt Sugar: A Novel. ABRAMS.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Avni Doshi. 2021. Burnt Sugar: A Novel. ABRAMS.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Avni Doshi, Burnt Sugar: A Novel. ABRAMS, 2021.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Avni Doshi. Burnt Sugar: A Novel. ABRAMS, 2021. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jan 22, 2021 14:19:15
Date Updated:
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        Avni Doshi was born in New Jersey. She received her BA in art history from Barnard College and her MA in history of art at University College, London. While working as an art writer and curator in India, Doshi began writing fiction. She has been awarded the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize and a Charles Pick Fellowship. Her debut novel, Burnt Sugar, was shortlisted for the prestigious TATA Literature Award upon its publication in India. Avni Doshi currently lives in Dubai with her family.

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title
Burnt Sugar
fullDescription
Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, a searing literary debut novel set in India about mothers and daughters, obsession and betrayal
"I would be lying if I say my mother's misery has never given me pleasure," says Antara, Tara's now-adult daughter.
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her marriage to join an ashram, and while Tara is busy as a partner to the ashram's spiritual leader, Baba, little Antara is cared for by an older devotee, Kali Mata, an American who came to the ashram after a devastating loss. Tara also embarks on a stint as a beggar (mostly to spite her affluent parents) and spends years chasing a disheveled, homeless artist, all with young Antara in tow. But now Tara is forgetting things, and Antara is an adult––an artist and married––and must search for a way to make peace with a past that haunts her as she confronts the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her.
Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar unpicks the slippery, choking cord of memory and myth that binds mother and daughter. Is Tara's memory loss real? Are Antara's memories fair? In vivid and visceral prose, Tibor Jones South Asia Prize–winning writer Avni Doshi tells a story, at once shocking and empathetic, about love and betrayal between a mother and a daughter. A journey into shifting memories, altering identities, and the subjective nature of truth, Burnt Sugar is a stunning and unforgettable debut.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 1, 2020
        Dark emotions color a daughter's complex connection to her mother in a striking first novel that delves deep into family bonds. "I would be lying if I said my mother's misery has never given me pleasure." This is the devastating opening sentence of American writer Doshi's provocative debut, which offers a fierce, compelling depiction of the painfully intertwined lives of a mother and daughter in Pune, India. Tara, the mother, was neglectful and careless; Antara, the daughter, will become her unwilling but affixed life companion. Abandoning a gloomy marriage to join an ashram and become the lover of Baba, its leader, Tara exhibits a pattern of inadequate parenting that continues, four years later, when Baba replaces her with a younger model. Tara and Antara, now 7, are next to be found begging outside the Club in Pune, eventually to be rescued by Antara's father, who, meanwhile, has divorced Tara and is remarrying. These and other episodes from the past--including Tara's later love affair with an unreliable artist and Antara's lonely months spent at an abusive boarding school--are sandwiched between slices of the contemporary narrative. Here Tara is sliding into dementia and Antara, comfortably married to Dilip, is trying to care for the parent whose care of her was so disastrous. Antara's voice is frank, skeptical, even comical while exposing the fragile psychology life has dealt her. Above all, she scrutinizes the unbreakable/unbearable link to a figure who haunts and half subsumes her, a razor's edge which Doshi captures in simple, effective prose: "Even now, when I...want to be without her, when I know her presence is the source of my unhappiness--that learned longing still rises, that craving for soft, white cotton that has frayed at the edge." A landmark portrait of toxic parenting and its tangled aftermath.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from January 11, 2021
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        January 1, 2021
        Doshi's debut novel, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, delves into the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter as pivotal moments of their lives intersect. Artist Antara contemplates her unconventional childhood, much of it lived in an ashram near Pune, India, as she considers motherhood. Her mother, Tara, begins to show signs of early dementia, despite her doctors' insistence that there is nothing physically wrong. This non-diagnosis doesn't make sense to Antara, who observes and bears the weight--sometimes crushingly heavy--of her mother's increasing need. She uses the same fervent, consuming, analytical process to seek answers to her mother's decline that she uses in her art, most of which centers around drawing the same man's face day after day. Doshi's language, by contrast, is expansive and fluid, even dreamlike at times, unspooling through serpentine paths and leaving the reader wondering, as Antara does, about the boundaries between reality and an imagined past. Doshi is a talent to watch, and this debut will readily find an audience in readers seeking well-crafted examinations of messy relationships, both internal and external.

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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shortDescription
Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, a searing literary debut novel set in India about mothers and daughters, obsession and betrayal
"I would be lying if I say my mother's misery has never given me pleasure," says Antara, Tara's now-adult daughter.
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her marriage to join an ashram, and while Tara is busy as a partner to the ashram's spiritual leader, Baba, little Antara is cared for by an older devotee, Kali Mata, an American who came to the ashram after a devastating loss. Tara also embarks on a stint as a beggar (mostly to spite her affluent parents) and spends years chasing a disheveled, homeless artist, all with young Antara in tow. But now Tara is forgetting things, and Antara is an adult––an artist and married––and must search for a way to make peace with a past that haunts her as she confronts the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her.
Sharp as a blade and laced with...
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awards
      • source: The Booker Prize Foundation
      • value: Man Booker Prize for Fiction Nominee
subtitle
A Novel
publisher
ABRAMS