SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020: A searing, compulsively readable story of mothers and daughters, memory and madness, love and betrayal
'Arresting and fiercely intelligent, disarmingly witty and frank' Sunday Times
'Utterly compelling, unflinching, written with poignancy and memorability' The Booker Prize Judges 2020
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her arranged marriage to join an ashram, took a hapless artist for a lover, rebelled against every social expectation of a good Indian woman - all with her young child in tow. Years on, she is an old woman with a fading memory, mixing up her maid's wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a mother who never seemed to care for her.
This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers - between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar gradually untangles the knot of memory and myth that bind two women together, revealing the truth that lies beneath.
'An unsettling, sinewy debut, startling in its venom and disarming in its humour from the very first sentence' Guardian
'A corrosive, compulsive debut' Daily Telegraph (*****)
'Scouringly brilliant, a blazing debut with words that glitter sharp as shards of broken mirror' Buro.
Arresting and fiercely intelligent, disarmingly witty and frank... Horror stories from the past seep into the present, as Doshi builds her portrait of a fractured mother-daughter relationship
A masterclass. Crisp, engaging, perfectly tragic in the way that families often tend to be... Doshi writes sharply, in no-nonsense prose, not a single sentence in the book can be omitted... Avni Doshi is a force to watch out for in the literary world
A corrosive, compulsive debut
This caustic tale of a destructive mother-daughter bond is as potent as its title might suggest... It bristles with sharp, chilly aphorisms... Doshi's visceral debut is a no-holds-barred excavation of how hate can both poison and sustain
Scouringly brilliant, a blazing debut that sticks in the mind like caramel blackened to the bottom of a pan... Doshi draws our relationships, both with the truth and with other people, with words that glitter sharp as shards of broken mirror
When does self-determination become selfishness? What can you learn from a bad mother? ...Sorrowful, sceptical and electrifyingly truthful about mothers and daughters
A sly, slippery, often heartbreaking novel about the role memory plays within families
A raw, vividly described exploration of the toxic relationship between two women who are forever bound together
Burnt Sugar straddles the line between pain and beauty. It makes the stomach churn. And, like all great literature, it prompts the question of the reader: is this you?
A disturbing tale of memory and forgetfulness, questioning the relevance and the authenticity of both
The Booker-shortlisted author on her early writing struggles and the years that inspired Burnt Sugar, one of the most talked-about debuts of 2020.
Trying to crack that opening line? Got a first novel lingering in a drawer? This year, on penguin.co.uk and the Penguin Podcast, we've chatted to lots of authors about their craft. Here's some highlights to give you a helping hand.