The Village by Nikita Lalwani is a disturbing and utterly gripping modern morality tale set in contemporary India.
On a winter morning Ray Bhullar arrives at the gates of an Indian village. She is here to make a film. But this will be no ordinary tale about India - for this is no ordinary village. It is an open prison, inhabited by murderers. An apparent innocent among the guilty, Ray tries hard to be accepted. But the longer she and the rest of the crew stay, the more the need for drama increases. Soon the fragile peace of the village will be shattered and, despite Ray's seemingly good intentions, the motives of the visitors and the lives of the inhabitants will be terrifyingly, brutally exposed.
Praise for The Village:
'A thoughtful novel that envelops us in the oppression and beauty of the rural prison . . . each voice is distinct, believable and stubborn in its refusal to be easily known. Touchingly evocative' Financial Times
'Thoughtful, beautifully written. A candid exploration of journalistic ethics' Observer
'A masterclass. The inmates' stories evoke larger questions about justice and privacy, power and powerlessness' Guardian
Nikita Lalwani was born in Rajasthan and raised in Cardiff. Her first novel Gifted was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and won the Desmond Elliott Prize. She lives in London.
Gripping ... Nikita Lalwani's second novel simmers with understated menace
Extraordinary... What Nikita is really, really brilliant at is voice and people
Lalwani's novel captures the hunger for self-improvement tinged with a pervasive sense of melancholy
'Extraordinary ... Lalwani writes with wonderful clarity and intelligence
Thoughtfully and often beautifully written, The Village explores postcolonial prejudices and asks what it means to represent something 'real'
The Village is a masterclass in compression, zooming in from a wide angle establishing shot to focus on individual lives... The inmates' stories evoke larger questions about justice and privacy, power and powerlessness. Lalwani is also very good at subverting perspective. Gradually, boundaries in this novel between inside and outside shift. The notion of freedom is turned on its head.
A thoughtful novel that envelops us in the oppression and beauty of the rural prison, yet resists simplification and stereotypes. Like the documentary process itself, her novel reveals only fragments of its characters - yet each voice is distinct, believable and stubborn in its refusal to be easily known.
A disturbing exploration of media ethics ... Sharp and uncompromising, it is a ripsnorting read that leaves us wondering where the needle will be pointing at the moment the moral compass is smashed to pieces ... The dissection elevates The Village from an ordinary travel thriller into Joseph Conrad territory, showing lingering post-colonial prejudices and the catastrophic effect of Westerners going East with a specific mission in mind.
Extraordinary... Lalwani writes with wonderful clarity and intelligence
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