Review: The Far Field

by Madhuri Vijay (Grove Atlantic, 2019)

This substantial, character-driven debut novel invites readers to travel to places beyond roads. We follow first-person narrator Shalini on a quest to escape grief and to excavate secrets in this adventurous coming-of-age story. Shalini navigates between privilege and poverty, between knowledge and self-doubt. Prose is lyrical, descriptive, and seasoned with terms from the Indian subcontinent, a region alive with diverse religious, cultural, and linguistic currents.

On an important level, this book bears witness to complicated political injustices and territorial disputes in contemporary Jammu Kashmir. It also portrays a heroic quest of a flawed and enduring heroine seeking her purpose in a difficult world. Raw edges of personal and cultural loss resonate long after the last page is turned.

Author Madhuri Vijay, born in India, is a Pushcart Prize winner; the novel has also been named an Indie Next and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Read the full review and background info on BookBrowse

Karen Lewis