Ep. 82 - The Mutual Haunting of Past and Future, with Sunjeev Sahota


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“It's a piece of family lore or legend that I've been hearing since I was a quite young boy.” In this week’s episode of Book Dreams, acclaimed author Sunjeev Sahota shares with Eve and Julie the family and personal experiences that helped shape his latest, transfixing novel, China Room. Set in both 1920s rural India and 1990s small-town England, the book originates with the story of Sunjeev’s great-grandmother, who as a young bride didn’t know which of four brothers was her new husband. Woven into both the novel and our conversation are themes of connection, belonging, heritage, class, and reputation. The two intergenerational storylines reveal a “mutual haunting” of future and past, with the past shaping the future and the future “reverb[ing] back” to transform the past.

Sunjeev Sahota was named one of Granta’s 20 Best of Young British Novelists of the Decade in 2013. In addition to China Room, he's the author of Ours Are the Streets and The Year of the Runaways, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and was awarded a European Union Prize for Literature. China Room was longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize and a finalist for the American Library Association’s Carnegie Medal.

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