As India is rent into two nations, communal violence breaks out on both sides of the new border and streaming hordes of refugees flee from blood and chaos.
At an overrun train station, Shankar and Keshav, twin Hindu boys, lose sight of their mother and join the human mass to go in search of her. A young Sikh girl, Simran Kaur, has run away from her father, who would rather poison his daughter than see her defiled. And Ibrahim Masud, an elderly Muslim doctor driven from the town of his birth, limps toward the new Muslim state of Pakistan, rediscovering on the way his role as a healer. As the displaced face a variety of horrors, this unlikely quartet comes together, defying every rule of self-preservation to forge a future of hope.
A dramatic, luminous story of families and nations broken and formed, Partitions introduces an extraordinary novelist who writes with the force and lyricism of poetry.
"This first-time novelist has helped us to travel that brief but crucial distance, from words on the page to dreams in our minds and hearts, and made this bitter, brutal time somehow reachable."—Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered "Partitions is a worldly meditation on the violence that occurs because of the necessary yet artificial partitions between individuals . . . Partitions eloquently shares its author’s human insights."—San Francisco Chronicle "Shimmering prose . . . A poignant surprise ending."—The Seattle Times "Amit Majmudar’s exceptional debut brilliantly captures India at its most turbulent . . . Dazzling."—The Daily Mail (London) “Magnificent . . . Written with piercing beauty, alive with moral passion and sorrowful insight—a rueful masterpiece.”—Kirkus (starred review) “A greatly human dramatization of the persecution each religious group experienced at the hands of the others . . . Poignant but never maudlin.”—Booklist (starred review)
Amit Majmudar is a diagnostic nuclear radiologist and an award-winning poet whose work has been featured in The Best American Poetry 2007. His first poetry collection, 0°, 0°, was published in 2009, and a novella, Azazel, was serialized in The Kenyon Review. Partitions is his first full-length novel. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
I know only three people in this infinitude. Two boys: one in a dark blue kurta with tiny golden beads embroidered around the collar, the other in a bright green one with silver beads, matching. Keshav is wearing the blue, Shankar the green. These are their favorite colors and these their best, most precious clothes, worn only twice, both times to weddings in Lahore.
I know these boys and the woman whose hands they are holding.