A History of Burning

A History of Burning



Four generations. Three sisters. One impossible choice.

Tricked aboard a boat to East Africa, Pirbhai is only thirteen when he is forced by the British into labouring on the railway. Under sweltering heat, hungry and frightened, he commits a terrible act just to survive.

He will never tell a soul, even when he meets Sonal, a fierce, loving woman with whom he starts a family in Uganda, in hope of a better life. But their granddaughters come of age in a divided nation.

Finally forced to flee, the family scatters across the world. They take with them a steel pot, a handful of photos, and a secret – that one day, will help them find each other again.

A History of Burning is a gorgeous family portrait of love, survival, inheritance - and the eternal search for home.

One family's search for a better life, for fans of Half of a Yellow Sun, Homegoing and Pachinko

'A remarkable debut . . . haunting, symphonic' New York Times

'Vast and intricate, alight with love and contained fury . . . A book I want to press into readers' hands and discuss for hours' Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING

Shortlisted for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award


  • [A] highly accomplished debut novel... a multi-stranded, intergenerational, poly-vocal epic that charts the struggles of an Indian family over the course of almost a century

About the author

Janika Oza

Janika Oza is the winner of the 2022 O. Henry Prize for Short Fiction, and the 2020 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Award. Her stories and essays have appeared in publications including The Best Small Fictions: 2019 Anthology and Catapult. She lives in Toronto.

Website: janikaoza.com
Twitter: @JanikaOza
Instagram: @o.janika
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