China Room

China Room

The heartstopping and beautiful novel, longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021


Brought to you by Penguin.


A multigenerational novel of love, oppression, trauma and the pursuit of freedom, inspired in part by the author's own family history, China Room twines together the stories of a woman and a man separated by more than half a century but united by blood.

Mehar, a young bride in rural 1929 Punjab, is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. She and her sisters-in-law, married to three brothers in a single ceremony, spend their days hard at work in the family's 'china room', sequestered from contact with the men. When Mehar develops a theory as to which of them is hers, a passion is ignited that will put more than one life at risk.

Spiralling around Mehar's story is that of a young man who in 1999 travels from England to the now-deserted farm, its 'china room' locked and barred. In enforced flight from the traumas of his adolescence - his experiences of addiction, racism, and estrangement from the culture of his birth - he spends a summer in painful contemplation and recovery, before finally finding the strength to return 'home'.

© Sunjeev Sahota 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021


  • Sunjeev Sahota's writing is the stuff of miracles. Emotional and heartrending, China Room juggles questions of love, debt, and what it means to build a home alongside the history that carries us. China Room is a propulsive dream, intricately wrought, and Sahota is a maestro.
    Bryan Washington, author of LOT and MEMORIAL

About the author

Sunjeev Sahota

Sunjeev Sahota is the highly acclaimed author of Ours Are the Streets, The Year of the Runaways and China Room. The Year of the Runaways was shortlisted for the 2015 Booker Prize and the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and won the Encore Prize, the South Bank Sky Arts Award, and the European Union Prize for Literature. China Room was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize, the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Sahota was chosen as one of the Granta Best of Young British Novelists 2013 and is a fellow of the RSL. He lives in Sheffield and teaches at Durham University. The Spoiled Heart is his fourth novel.
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