The Village by Nikita Lalwani
A Novel

70%

5 Critic Reviews

Because Nikita Lalwani writes well but for the most part without flash, her intelligent, slow-burner of a novel, The Village, can creep up and grab you unawares. It certainly did for me. This is the India-born, Wales-raised writer’s second novel.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

In her award-winning debut novel, Gifted, Nikita Lalwani crafted a brilliant coming-of-age story that “[called] to mind the work of such novelists as Zadie Smith and Monica Ali” (The Washington Post Book World). Now Lalwani turns her gimlet eye on an extraordinary village in India, and explores the thin boundary between morality and evil, innocence and guilt.
 
After a long trip from London, twenty-seven-year-old BBC filmmaker Ray Bhullar arrives at the remote Indian village of Ashwer, which will be the subject of her newest documentary. From the outside, the town projects a cozy air of domesticity—small huts bordering earthen paths, men lounging and drinking tea, women guiding bright cloth through noisy sewing machines. Yet Ashwer is far from traditional. It is an experimental open prison, a village of convicted murderers and their families.
 
As Ray and her crew settle in, they seek to win the trust of Ashwer’s residents and administrators: Nandini, a women’s counselor and herself an inmate; Jyoti, a prisoner’s wife who is raising her children on the grounds; Sujay, the progressive founder and governor of the society. Ray aims to portray Ashwer as a model of tolerance, yet the longer she and her colleagues stay, the more their need for a dramatic story line intensifies. And as Ray’s moral judgment competes with her professional obligation, her assignment takes an uneasy and disturbing turn.
 
Incisive, moving, and superbly written, The Village deftly examines the limits of empathy, the slipperiness of reason, and the strength of our principles in the face of personal gain.

Praise for The Village
 
“Powerful . . . One of the novel’s great strengths is how it maintains an ambience of mystery and menace.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Extraordinary . . . Lalwani writes with wonderful clarity and intelligence.”—The Times (U.K.)
 
The Village can creep up and grab you unawares.”—Toronto Star
 
“[Lalwani’s] prose is evocative and excellent.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Thoughtful and beautifully written.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
 
“Gripping.”—Marie Claire (U.K.)

“Intelligent and disturbing . . . a sharply observed, highly personal book.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A thoughtful novel that envelops us in the oppression and beauty of the rural prison . . . Each voice is distinct, believable and stubborn in its refusal to be easily known. . . . Touchingly evocative.”—Financial Times
 
“Thoughtfully and often beautifully written . . . a candid exploration of journalistic ethics.”—The Observer


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Nikita Lalwani

See more books from this Author
NIKITA LALWANI was born in Rajasthan and raised in Cardiff. Her first novel, Gifted, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and won the Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction. Nikita was also shortlisted for the 2008 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. She lives in London.



Author Residence: London, England



Author Hometown: Rajasthan, India & Cardiff, Wales
 
Published July 9, 2013 by Random House. 257 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Village
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Tania James on Aug 09 2013

One of the novel’s great strengths is how it maintains an ambience of mystery and menace, partly due to the secrecy shrouding the inmates...Here is where the central argument is animated by action, culminating in an ending more heart-wrenching and morally muddled than can exist in a neatly packaged television episode.

Read Full Review of The Village: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tishani Doshi on Jun 22 2012

Lalwani is also very good at subverting perspective. Gradually, the boundaries in this novel between inside and outside shift.

Read Full Review of The Village: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Chris Cox on Jun 16 2012

Thoughtfully and often beautifully written, The Village is not just about media ethics – it also explores stubborn postcolonial prejudices, and ultimately asks what it means to represent something "real".

Read Full Review of The Village: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Kirkus

Below average
on May 15 2013

The language, gorgeous and evocative, occasionally waxes florid, as overheated as the tropical atmosphere it describes. Extraneous detail about the technical aspects of TV production slows the action.

Read Full Review of The Village: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Aug 14 2013

Because Nikita Lalwani writes well but for the most part without flash, her intelligent, slow-burner of a novel, The Village, can creep up and grab you unawares. It certainly did for me. This is the India-born, Wales-raised writer’s second novel.

Read Full Review of The Village: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

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