It is 2002 and young Pablo, a city boy who has mostly lived a sheltered and privileged life in Guwahati, is visiting his ancestral village for his aunt's wedding. This is his second time in Mayong, in rural Assam, since 1998, when he had come for a few days to attend his father's best friend's funeral. As the wedding preparations gather pace, Pablo is amused as well as disturbed by squabbling aunts, dying grandmothers, cousins planning to elope for love, and hysterical gossips. And on this heady theatre of tradition and modernity hovers the sinister shadow of insurgency and the army's brutal measures to quell militancy.
In the days leading up to the wedding, which ends in an unspeakable tragedy, Pablo finds first love, discovers family intrigues, and goes through an extraordinary rite of passage. Written with clinical precision, this gripping first novel announces the arrival of one of the most original new voices from India. The novel is an exploration of fear, about what it means to live under state-terrorism and violence of armed rebellion, and about the far-reaching consequences of living under the threat of terror in world's largest democracy.
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Reviews"From a family's dark secrets playing out against the horrors of Assam's recent history, Aruni Kashyap has created a gripping, evocative and highly true-to-life novel." - Anjum Hasan, author of Difficult Pleasures
"In this profoundly moving first novel, Aruni Kashyap has drawn a portrait of contemporary Assam that is suffused with tenderness for a once gentle land now torn apart by violence. With finely honed sensitivity and exquisite skill, he has achieved the remarkable by illuminating the narrative with a luminous hope that captures all that is still magical in this war-torn land on the edge of the country. A refreshingly original voice, Kashyap is a writer to watch out for." - Jahnavi Barua, author of Rebirth
"In Kashyap's crumbling House, is the beating heart of Assam; in its belly its termites, its conflicts, its dogs that lay eggs, its stunning fireflies, its dangerous gossip, the disintegrating spines of its own histories. Beside it is the Brahmaputra, the river that veers towards the villages it loves, consumes them whole – emblematic of Kashyap's House's stories of love that end in disaster. The House with a Thousand Stories is the complex tale of an India rarely seen outside North East India, scarcely spoken about, making Kashyap's début a courageous and necessary one." - Nii Ayikwei Parkes, author of Tail of the Blue Bird
"Aruni Kashyap's narrative prose has the compulsive assurance of a master story teller." - Namita Gokhale
"Intricately woven" - Time Out
"leaves the safe confines of a novel about an Indian family and steps into the perilous terrain of telling stories about discomfiting facts and uncomfortable truths. The route is laid with booby traps and one wrong step by the storyteller could take the story into a wrong direction or end it forever. Aruni Kashyap not only walks this road with aplomb, but creates a story which is both political and personal. The politics in the novel is intimate; it blends in like the sound of the Brahmaputra flowing by." - Earthen Lamp Journal
"Captivating narrative of a family set against the backdrop of insurgency … The House With a Thousand Stories is an affirmation of Aruni Kashyap’s creative genius and the emergence of a powerful storyteller." - The Telegraph
"[An] abiding sense of hurt and separateness from the Indian state permeates The House with a Thousand Stories... [Kashyap's] tactile prose, beautifully flawed characters ...brings to life and empathy a little-known corner of the region." - Elle India
"Aruni captures the historical silence that has, over the years, eluded many writers." - CNN-IBN
"Kashyap breaks a basic rule of plotting a book: giving away what happens next. It is a mark of his confidence as a writer; he knows his storytelling will keep the reader hooked." - The Asian Age
"Beautiful and devastatingly torn... Kashyap leaves us with something sparkling in this wreckage--a quality common to all great tragedies. A novel to savor." - Mint : The Wall Street Journal
"Most impressive in its adept juggling of the personal with the political." - The Sunday Guardian
"A tale where the haunting past coexists with the violent present. Aruni Kashyap's debut novel, set in Assam, sees the author at the height of his powers with a sensitive yet strong narrative.... Kashyap is below thirty. Amazing talent from one so young!" - The Deccan Herald