ABOUT THE AUTHOR & TRANSLATOR
Geetanjali Shree is an acclaimed Indian writer and novelist. Born in 1957 in New Delhi, she completed her education from the Delhi University, where she studied English literature.
Geetanjali would go on to make significant contributions to contemporary Hindi literature. Her first shot at fame came in the form of the English translation of her novel, Mai. Her subsequent works include Hamara Shahar Us Baras and Khali Jagah.
Known for her thought-provoking style, Geetanjali’s writings often delve into the complexities of human relationships, social norms, and the changing dynamics of the Indian society.
Born in 1969, Daisy Rockwell is a multi-talented American artist, writer, and translator.
She holds a PhD in Hindi literature from the University of Chicago and has translated numerous works from Hindi and Urdu into English. As a translator, Rockwell has played a key role in making South Asian literary works accessible to a wider audience worldwide. Some of her translated works include Bhisham Saini’s Tamas, Khadija Mastur’s The Women’s Courtyard, Krishna Sobti’s A Gujarat Here, A Gujarat There, and Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand. Rockwell is also an accomplished painter.
Tomb of Sand is the story of two women – a mother and a daughter.
The mother, after her husband’s death, slips into depression. She eventually moves in with her bohemian daughter.
This change transforms the mother. Her personality changes, and she becomes friends with a transgender, Rosie. She metamorphoses into a feminist. Her new social circles and personality change befuddle her daughter.
To the surprise of her family members, she decides to visit Pakistan to confront her past. This turns out to be an adventure for the mother-daughter duo.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT TOMB OF SAND
In Tomb of Sand, Geetanjali Shree has come up with a true masterpiece. Both the story and its characters are mesmerizing. A treatise on love, courage and resilience, the book has an almost poetic, melodious feel to it. The narrative flows like a tranquil brook from start to finish, encapsulating nostalgia to perfection. It also takes the readers through the trauma of Partition in a humane way.
A translation of Ret Samadhi, the book has done justice to its original counterpart, preserving the soul and beauty of the Hindi novel.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT TOMB OF SAND
Far from a light-hearted read, Tomb of Sand is a tome. The book deals with rather complex themes and demands a lot of patience from its readers.
Breath is like a tiny bug. When it begins to disappear, it’s a tiny wisp of a gasp that wriggles free between the gusts of air and fierce winter chills and all the powerful ins and outs of the breaths of everyone around, and escapes – like a bug.
The growing, smaller woman was mesmerised. She’d gathered every scar freckle movement moan from the earth of her body and replanted it in the clay earth, as though she were removing all the forgotten stones, twigs and thorns from the earth to make it smooth and fertile again so a new crop could grow. And a phallus had grown!
Ameya would recommend Tomb of Sand to all literary buffs. This is a poignant read, one that will stay with the readers well after they have put it down. That said, its sensitive themes mean that the book is not suitable for young readers.
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A proverbial bookworm, Anusuya is always hungry for new stories and adventures.