Indian-origin author Avni Doshi’s book, Burnt Sugar (released as Girl in White Cotton in India), has made it to the Booker Prize longlist for 2020. Doshi is a United States citizen.
In the book, Antara, a slightly angry and sad daughter, tries to cope with the reality of her mother Tara’s memory loss. In addition to forgetting to switch off the gas at night, Tara has been forgetting that her friends are dead, and does not accept her illness. While the two have had a difficult relationship, Antara now has no idea how to care for her mother.
The other characters in the book are Dilip (Antara’s husband), Anikka (her daughter), her father and his new wife, and her mother-in-law. But it is Antara and Tara who are the central characters of the plot.
According to The Booker Prizes, which announced the long list, “This is a love story and it is a story about betrayal. But not between lovers – between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Avni Doshi tests the limits of what we can know for certain about those we are closest to, and by extension, about ourselves.”
Doshi, born in New Jersey, now lives in Dubai, according to her website. She has a BA in Art History from Barnard College in New York and a Masters in History of Art from the University College London. She was awarded the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2013. Burnt Sugar/Girl in White Cotton is her first novel. In 2019, the novel was long listed for the Tata First Book Prize.
The 2020 Booker long-list has nine Americans or those holding dual-US citizenship, three Britons and one Zimbabwean. The list has eight debutante novelists.
“Each of these books carries an impact that has earned it a place on the long-list, deserving of wide readership,” Margaret Busby, chairperson of the 2020 judges, said. “Included are novels carried by the sweep of history with memorable characters brought to life and given visibility, novels that represent a moment of cultural change, or the pressures an individual faces in pre- and post-dystopian society.”
The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 15. The winner will be announced in November.
Here are the other books on the longlist:
- The New Wilderness by Diane Cook (Oneworld Publications)
- The Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarambga (Faber & Faber)
- Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
- The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate Books)
- Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury Publishing)
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)
- Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing)
- Redhead by The Side of The Road by Anne Tyler (Chatto & Windus, Vintage)
- Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
- Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward (Corsair, Little, Brown)
- How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang (Virago, Little, Brown)