Author(s): Avni Doshi
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020.
A searing debut novel about mothers and daughters, obsession and betrayal - for fans of Jenny Offill's Weather, Deborah Levy's Hot Milk and Diana Evans' Ordinary People.
'Taut, unsettling, ferocious' - Fatima Bhutto, author of The Runaways.
'Acerbic, full of wit and cool intelligence - every sentence is a coiled spring and each psychological portrait burns itself into the mind. I couldn't put it down' - Olivia Sudjic, author of Exposure and Sympathy.
'Crystalline, surgical, compulsively readable. An examination of toxic relationships and the ties that bind us' - Sharlene Teo, author of Pont.
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her loveless marriage to join an ashram, endured a brief stint as a beggar (mostly to spite her affluent parents), and spent years chasing after a dishevelled, homeless 'artist' - all with her young child in tow. Now she is forgetting things, mixing up her maid's wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her.
This is a love story and a story about betrayal. But not between lovers - between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar unpicks the slippery cords of memory and myth that bind two women together, and hold them apart.
'Daring and deliciously dark, Burnt Sugar will keep you gripped until the very last sentence' - Zeba Talkhani, author of My Past is a Foreign Country.
'Raw, wise and cuttingly funny on love and cruelty, marriage and motherhood, art and illness, and one woman's fight for her sense of self' - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Starling Days.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020
An unsettling, sinewy debut, startling in its venom and disarming in its humour from the very first sentence Arresting and fiercely intelligent, disarmingly witty and frank... Horror stories from the past seep into the present, as Doshi builds her portrait of a fractured mother-daughter relationship * Sunday Times * A masterclass. Crisp, engaging, perfectly tragic in the way that families often tend to be... Doshi writes sharply, in no-nonsense prose, not a single sentence in the book can be omitted... Avni Doshi is a force to watch out for in the literary world * Scroll * A corrosive, compulsive debut * Sunday Telegraph (five stars) * Subtle, intelligent, thrilling, visceral This caustic tale of a destructive mother-daughter bond is as potent as its title might suggest... It bristles with sharp, chilly aphorisms... Doshi's visceral debut is a no-holds-barred excavation of how hate can both poison and sustain * Daily Mail * Scouringly brilliant, a blazing debut that sticks in the mind like caramel blackened to the bottom of a pan... Doshi draws our relationships, both with the truth and with other people, with words that glitter sharp as shards of broken mirror * Buro. * A sly, slippery, often heartbreaking novel about the role memory plays within families * Stylist * A raw, vividly described exploration of the toxic relationship between two women who are forever bound together * Good Housekeeping * Burnt Sugar straddles the line between pain and beauty. It makes the stomach churn. And, like all great literature, it prompts the question of the reader: is this you? * Bad Form * Acerbic, full of wit and cool intelligence - every sentence is a coiled spring and each psychological portrait burns itself into the mind. I couldn't put it down Daring and deliciously dark, Burnt Sugar will keep you gripped until the very last sentence Raw, wise and cuttingly funny on love and cruelty, marriage and motherhood, art and illness, and one woman's fight for her sense of self Avni Doshi quietly, cleanly, slices through the heart... Impeccably insightful, carved from love, rage, and grief, here all embellishment is discarded, all artifice shorn - motherhood, family, memory, language - to reveal something devastating about our relationships, with ourselves and with those closest to us * Janice Pariat, author of 'The Nine-Chambered Heart' * A brilliant debut, about mothers and daughters, that manages be acerbic and brittle all at the same time A courageous novel written in spare, gleaming sentences. It made me hold my breath and gather it up again * Tishani Doshi, author of 'Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods' * Beautifully grotesque, vivid, unexpected. Doshi knows her characters so intimately I felt I could reach out and touch the skin they're in * Diksha Basu, author of 'The Windfall' * Crystalline, surgical, compulsively readable. An examination of toxic relationships and the ties that bind us A disturbing tale of memory and forgetfulness, questioning the relevance and the authenticity of both * Indian Express * Taut, unsettling, ferocious
Avni Doshi was born in New Jersey in 1982 and is currently based in Dubai. She won the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2013 and a Charles Pick Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in 2014. Her debut novel, Burnt Sugar, is longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020. A version of the same novel is also published in India under the title Girl in White Cotton.