The Fertile Earth
Author: Ruthvika Rao
An unforgettable story of love and resistance surrounding two young people born across social lines, set against a tumultuous political landscape in India.
Vijaya and Sree are the daughters of the Deshmukhs of Irumi. Hailing from a lineage of ancestral aristocrats, their family’s social status and power over villagers on their land is absolute. Krishna and Ranga, brothers, are the sons of a widowed servant in the Deshmukh household.
When Vijaya and Krishna meet, they forge an intense bond that is beautiful and dangerous. But after an innocent attempt to hunt down a man-eating tiger in the jungle goes wrong, what happens between the two of them is disastrous, the consequences reverberating through their lives into young adulthood.
Years later, when violent uprisings rip across the countryside and the Marxist, ultra-left Naxalite movement arrives in Irumi, Vijaya and Krishna are forced to navigate the insurmountable differences of land ownership and class warfare in a country that is burning from the inside out—while being irresistibly drawn back to each other, their childhood bond now full of possibilities neither of them are willing to admit.
The Fertile Earth is a vast, ambitious debut that is equal parts historical, political, and human, with the enduring ties of love and family loyalty at its heart. Who can be loved? What are the costs of transgressions? How can justice be measured, and who will be alive to bear witness?