Bookwatch: Preeti Gill shares her favourite books on Partition

Preeti Gill, an independent editor and literary agent, shares her five favourite reads, including Partition stories, detective stories, and a novel on mental illness. 

19 Nov 2019 | By PrintWeek India

Partitions of the heart: Unmaking the idea of India by Harsh Mander: There was one partition of the land in 1947 and in this book Harsh Mander writes of another partitioning. Are we to blame for this — there are a number of unsettling questions that the book asks and I liked this enormously because it makes you think about what is happening in our present day world, what are our responsibilities as part of civil society, and of a progressive majority?

The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy by Ishtiaq Ahmed: Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed writes about the Partition of Punjab, a subject close to my heart because I belong to a family that made its way from that side to this. The stories ring true, the heartbreak, the trauma, the tragedy are all of ours and of those like us.

A Meeting on the Andheri Overbridge by Ambai: Ambai is such a great writer. These are the first of her detective fiction — delicious, delightful and dark. Her woman detective Sudha Gupta is the equivalent of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. I enjoy a good detective story! 

The Unsafe Asylum by Anirudh Kala: Again Partition stories of 1947 and of trauma and madness. Written by Anirudh Kala, a psychiatrist based in Ludhiana, the stories here are close to the bone. Was the partition something we left behind in the past or does it still cast a long shadow? These are powerful, unsettling stories.

Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto: My all-time favourite book, this is a story told with gentle empathy, humour and love. It is a study of mental illness like you've never read and it unsettles you and moves you and makes you cry. This is a book you will never leave behind.