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Partitions [Paperback]

Amit Majmudar
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

1 Feb 2012

As India is rent overnight into two nations, sectarian violence explodes on both sides of the new border, with tidal waves of refugees fleeing the blood and chaos. Fighting to board the last train to Delhi, Shankar and Keshav, six-year-old Hindu twins, lose sight of their mother and plunge into the whirling human mass to find her. A young Sikh woman, Simran Kaur, flees 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 towards the new Muslim state of Pakistan.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851688404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851688401
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The superb fiction debut of Amit Majmudar, "Partitions", is particularly welcome... This novel will make you angry and sad, as it should; it will also leave you with a heightened sense of sympathy and hope for the people on both sides of an arbitrary border."--"The Wall Street Journal" "Unforgettable."
--"The Boston Globe" "Heart-wrenching."--"New York Post"
"Shimmering prose... and a poignant surprise ending."--"The Seattle Times" "A dazzling narrative... Amit Majmudar's exceptional debut brilliantly captures India at its most turbulent."--"Daily Mail" (UK) "A greatly human dramatization of the persecution each religious group experienced at the hands of the others... Poignant but never maudlin."--"Booklist" (starred review) "Magnificent... Written with piercing beauty, alive with moral passion and sorrowful insight--a rueful masterpiece."--"Kirkus" (starred review)

About the Author

Amit Majmudar is the winner of the 2011 Donald Justice Poetry Prize. His first poetry collection, 0, 0: Poems, was published in 2009, and a novella, Azazel, was serialized in The Kenyon Review. Partitions is his first full-length novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, powerful novel 4 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It is exceptionally well written with moving descriptions of the terrifying circumstances in which four people - two Hindu twins aged six, a young Sikh teenager and an elderly Muslim doctor are made homeless during the time of the partition in India.

I loved the description of the kind, generous, single-minded doctor feeding crumbs to the stray dogs he encounters on his travels. His only desire is to heal and treat the sick - whatever their race or creed. The incredible journeys of the four main characters and all the horror which they experience whilst trying to find a new home are vividly described by Amit Majmudar. This book is absolutely superb - thought provoking and powerful giving a heart-rending insight into the horrendous effects of the partition. Anyone who reads this novel cannot help but be moved by it.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding first novel 13 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Two young boys are left standing on the platform of a railway station, torn from their mother's grasp by a crowd of people pushing to get onto the train. An elderly doctor arrives at work to find his surgery smashed up beyond use. A teen-aged girl runs away when her male relatives kill her mother, aunts, sisters, and all the other women in the family to preserve their 'honour'. Welcome to 'Partitions' by Amit Majmudar, a book you'll remember long after the final page is turned.

'Partitions' follows the twins, the doctor and the virgin, interweaving three different story-lines set during the human exodus brought about by the formation of the new countries. The book is set in August 1947 in the days following Independence and offers perspectives from all three key religions. The boys are Hindu, the doctor a Muslim and the girl is a Sikh. Unlikely as it might sound, the book is narrated by a dead man called Dr Roshan Jaitly. He uses his ghostly form to flit between the three stories in a way that possibly sounds a bit daft and probably shouldn't work. Oddly and unexpectedly it does work - beautifully, seamlessly and in a very smooth and moving way.

In just over 200 pages, Majmudar moves his four characters like chess pieces on a board, dancing them step by step towards each other then sending them away again. Jaitly's ghost watches over them and comments on their progress. It's not just the focal characters that make the book so memorable; the supporting cast are richly painted and fascinating too. It's the little details that make these people come alive on the page.

This is not the most horrible book I've read about 'Partition' - that accolade must surely go to Kushwant Singh's 'The Train to Pakistan' - but it is one of the most moving and ultimately optimistic books about this horrific time. Buy it - it really is an exceptional book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 16 May 2012
By June
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is so wonderfully written that, as another reviewer has said, it came as no surprise to find the author is also a poet. Some sentences I've re-read just for their beauty.

The story is gripping and harrowing, relating a terrible time, but for the most part avoiding graphic violence (although I did have to skip 3 or 4 pages in the middle so that I could sleep that night!). At times I found myself almost holding my breath, so frightened for the main characters. Man's inhumanity to man never fails to appal, and maltreatment of women, and their acceptance of it, never fails to outrage. Yet these horrors are overcome by the goodness of one unlikely hero, and this is so skilfully sketched by the author.

Here is one small extract which I think sums up not just this little part of history, but the history of the world in general:-

"...sensing, as he has before, a detached kindness guiding the courses and intersections of people, which violent men try to disrupt but succeed in disrupting only for a time."

A masterpiece!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating 6 May 2014
Ever since I was a young child, I’ve loved reading. My dad would encourage us, and bought lots of books, spanning different genres. After not seeing him for months at a time, we’d all tuck up in bed, and he’d read us a story, unfortunately, half way through he’d fall asleep, and start snoring :)

For me reading offers excitement, escapism, inspiration, and knowledge. It’s been a while since a book has enthralled me. On Easter Monday, the weather was miserable, there was nothing decent on TV, and I recalled my sister in-law telling me about a book she borrowed from our study called Partitions, she said she was so eager to know the ending, that she stayed up a few nights just to finish it (no mean feat as a mother of a young child & job as a nurse). I picked it up early that morning, and by the afternoon had read it.

Partitions is a fictional story set amongst the chaos of July 1947 (division of India into Pakistan). The reader follows the journey of the persecution of each religious group (Hindu, Muslim & Sikh) as told by a man. This man/the narrator happens to be the father of twin Hindu boys, Keshav and Shankar. They are fleeing Pakistan for India with their mother, Sonia (a Christian), but somehow get lost from her during their train journey, and the brothers are left to defend for themselves. Then we meet Dr Masud, an elderly well-respected paediatrician, who had his own clinic in India, but as a Muslim, he has to abandon his home and head towards Pakistan. The final character is Simran, a teenage Sikh girl, who flees from her home after realising that her father and male relatives decide to poison her mother, sisters, and young brother, so that they don’t get abused at the hands of Muslims.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You need to read this one
Gripping read although sometimes uncomfortably dark and shocking. Well written and totally believable, offering an unemotional insight into some of the events surrounding the... Read more
Published 23 hours ago by David Stockdale
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
One of the best books I have read about this part of India/Pakistan's history.
Published 23 days ago by Mrs E.M.Henry
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching & stark reminder of dark times
Good read. Goes to show how it's really the common people who face the ugly consequences and carry on the trauma of violence as a result of political fallouts and failures. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Emaad
3.0 out of 5 stars Partitions review
I was quite disappointed by this book. I have read a number of books about India and partition but found this curiously soulless.
Published 4 months ago by KS
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing.
what an absolutely brilliant read for anyone with little knowledge of partition. gives a microscopic insight into an interesting, yet horrendous historical moment.
Published 9 months ago by GUS.FRING
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and Well written
This book shines a light on a period that still haunts several nations. Well written, enlightening and tragic in equal measures
Published 9 months ago by 'Delia
5.0 out of 5 stars a hard hitting read but worth it
I was grabbed instantly by the unusual nature of the narrator. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of India and Pakistan. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Liz
5.0 out of 5 stars partitions
found this book very moving first time I have read about these events and enjoyed style of writing would read this author again!
Published 11 months ago by john cunliffe
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult writing style and little substance
If you read this book hoping to learn a little more about the background to Partition then you will be disappointed; there is no explanation or back-story to the four central... Read more
Published 14 months ago by avaline
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary story, beautifully written
I was tasked to read this book by our book club. I loved it. So beautifully written and easy to read (not too long), yet with a story line that is brutal, unbearably touching and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by jabel
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