The Far Field

MADHURI VIJAY (HarperCollins India)

A woman lands in Kashmir amidst political turmoil to unravel the mystery of her mother’s death

In the wake of her mother's death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bengaluru, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir's politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. Soon, all the novel’s characters — Riyaz, Amina, Bashir Ahmed, Shalini’s father — arrive at a moment of crisis and decision, where they must change something vital about their lives or perish. In the end, Shalini herself is forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

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About the author

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Madhuri Vijay was born and raised in Bengaluru and now lives in Hawaii where she teaches children at a school is a schoolteacher. “A fortunate benefit of teaching young children,” she says “is that they neither know nor care about how many words you managed to write that day or whether you’ve hit upon the perfect metaphor — working with them is a refreshing and humbling reminder to keep one’s work in proper perspective.” She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. Her writing has appeared in Best American Non-Required Reading, Narrative Magazine and Salon, among other publications. In 2010, she wrote a short story about a mother and a daughter and a Kashmiri man. “It was a maudlin story—abysmal, really—but I grew interested in writing a novel about Kashmir.” The Far Field is her first book.