It is 2002 and young Pablo, a city boy who has mostly lived a sheltered and privileged life in Guwahati, is visiting his ancestral village for his aunt’s wedding. This is his second time in Mayong, in rural Assam, since 1998, when he had come for a few days to attend his father’s best friend’s funeral. As the wedding preparations gather pace, Pablo is amused as well as disturbed by squabbling aunts, dying grandmothers, cousins planning to elope for love and hysterical gossips. And on this heady theatre of tradition and modernity hovers the sinister shadow of insurgency and the army’s brutal measures to quell militancy. In the days leading up to the wedding, which ends in an unspeakable tragedy, Pablo finds first love, discovers family intrigues and goes through an extraordinary rite of passage. Written with clinical precision, this gripping first novel announces the arrival of one of the most original voices from India’s North-East.

 

 Viking/ Penguin Random House Books, 2013

Viking/ Penguin Random House Books, 2013

Praise for:

THE HOUSE WITH A THOUSAND STORIES

Aruni captures the historical silence that has, over the years, eluded many writers.
— CNN-News18
Amazing talent from one so young!
— THE DECCAN HERALD
a promising debut, . . . reminiscent of Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines.
— THE ASIAN AGE
[An] abiding sense of hurt and separateness from the Indian state permeates The House with a Thousand Stories... [Kashyap’s] tactile prose, beautifully flawed characters …brings to life and empathy a little-known corner of the region.
— ELLE MAGAZINE
In Kashyap’s crumbling House, is the beating heart of Assam; in its belly its termites, its conflicts, its dogs that lay eggs, its stunning fireflies, its dangerous gossip, the disintegrating spines of its own histories. Beside it is the Brahmaputra, the river that veers towards the villages it loves, consumes them whole as emblematic of Kashyap’s House’s stories of love that end in disaster. The House with a Thousand Stories is the complex tale of an India rarely seen outside North East India, scarcely spoken about, making Kashyap’s debut a courageous and necessary one.
— NII AYIKWEI PARKES, WINNER OF PRIX LAURE BATAILLON 2014.
Aruni Kashyap’s narrative prose has the compulsive assurance of a master story teller.
— NAMITA GOKHALE
Beautiful and devastatingly torn… Kashyap leaves us with something sparkling in this wreckage—a quality common to all great tragedies. A novel to savor.
— MINT
In this profoundly moving first novel, Aruni Kashyap has drawn a portrait of contemporary Assam that is suffused with tenderness for a once gentle land now torn apart by violence. With finely honed sensitivity and exquisite skill, he has achieved the remarkable by illuminating the narrative with a luminous hope that captures all that is still magical in this war-torn land on the edge of the country. A refreshingly original voice, Kashyap is a writer to watch out for
— JAHNAVI BARUA
It is remarkable that Kashyap has been able to weave the theme of the insurgency and the consequent extrajudicial killings in Assam in the 1990s deftly into the everyday lives of his protagonists.
— THE FRONTLINE
Like Marquez’s Macondo, these are places which seem to exist only fleetingly, where stories are at once ephemeral and eternal. The House with a Thousand Stories leaves one with the feeling that something is irretrievably lost, and yet, as the entrancing, languorous love scene at the end suggests, there is much beauty, more rarefied for being so transient, strained out in the process.
— THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS
A novel often affects the way we look at a place or a people. Aruni Kashyap’s novel will certainly change the way we look at Assam.
— INDIA TODAY
Kashyap brings home the reality of the terror that his characters live with.
— DAILY NEWS & ANALYSIS
There are very few works of fiction in the English literature that have managed to portray the pain and suffering of the people of the Northeast as Aruni Kashyap’s novel.
— THE FINANCIAL CHRONICLE
There is much to be admired about Aruni Kashyap’s debut novel, but it is most impressive in its adept juggling of the personal with the political.
— THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN
...voices the story of a land torn by violence. ...This is a great debut novel.
— THE TRIBUNE
An achievement for a first novel.
— THE INDIAN EXPRESS