A masterful retelling of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana, THE MEMOIRS of VALMIKI RAO explores themes of religious and political hypocrisy and how the disadvantaged are used as pawns to fight the wars of the powerful.
THE MEMOIRS of VALMIKI RAO
by Lindsay Pereira
Vintage Books/Penguin Random House India, August 2023
(via The Rights Factory)
Madeline Miller’s Circe meets Rushdie’s Midnight Children with a dash of the whimsy and caper of Wes Anderson, THE MEMOIRS of VALMIKI RAO is about young love and the loss of innocence set against the backdrop of one of the most tumultuous periods of modern Indian history. In a nondescript apartment in a corner of Mumbai, a retired postman, Valmiki Rao, reflects on a month in 1992. A month in which a mosque burned and religious extremism reigned. A month in which young men took up arms against their brothers and made enemies of neighbours. A month which would have long-lasting effects on modern India. It was a time when blood flowed on the streets and men and women gave up their lives for invisible gods.
In writing his memoirs of this period, Valmiki Rao tells the story of Rameshwar, a neighbourhood hero, and the young woman he loves, Janaki, who is also coveted by the local thug Ravindra. As the city burns around them, Rameshwar must risk everything to rescue Janaki from Ravindra’s grasp, an act which will ultimately impact the lives of everyone in the neighbourhood forever.
Lindsay Pereira is a Toronto-based journalist and editor. He studied at St. Xavier’s College and the University of Bombay and holds a PhD in literature. He was co-editor with the late Eunice de Souza of Women’s Voices (Oxford University Press). His first novel, GODS and ENDS (Penguin Random House India) was shortlisted for the 2021 JCB Prize for Literature, and Tata Literature Live! First Book Award for Fiction. His short story collection SONGS OUR BODIES SING (Penguin Random House India) will be published in 2024. World English Rights excluding the Indian sub-continent are available for both.