Punjab, 1929: a bride marries a man she is not allowed to see. Curiosity grows, with far-reaching consequences in Sunjeev Sahota’s absorbing novel.
Mehar is one of three women in arranged marriages to three brothers. The women, who live together in a room that houses the family china, are veiled in all their dealings with the men – except when they see them at appointed times in total darkness. Mehar thinks she knows which brother is hers, a belief that awakens a dangerous passion, and a quest for freedom that will have lasting consequences in another continent.
I do try to withhold as much as possible, to both clear a space in which ideas and feelings can be perceived and not asserted
Indira Varma and Antonio Aakeel bring the audiobook of China Room to life.
There is a scrupulous subtlety about that way that Sahota refuses to let his historical characters act as though they are in a historical novel
For the Vintage Books podcast, Sunjeev Sahota and Kamila Shamsie spoke with Ted Hodgkinson, head of literature and spoken word at Southbank Centre and a former International Booker Prize judge, about China Room, authorship, writing histories, and more.