Publication Date: 08/06/2023 ISBN: 9781914484575 Category:

The East Indian

Brinda Charry

Publisher: Scribe Publications
Publication Date: 08/06/2023 ISBN: 9781914484575 Category:


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Meet Tony: the first Indian to set foot on American soil.

Among the settlers, slaves, and indentured servants that make the treacherous journey across the Atlantic to the New World in the early 1600s – for some, an exciting opportunity, for others, a brutal abduction – there is also Tony. As a child, his homeland on the Coromandel Coast of India becomes a trading outpost for the English; as an orphaned teenager, he finds himself kidnapped from the streets of London and bound to servitude on a Virginia plantation. But Tony is not giving up on his dreams just yet.

Under the rule of a sadistic plantation owner, he forms a tender bond with a young boy who will haunt his nightmares; on an exploration inland alongside a trader and Native Americans, he realises the world is vaster and more mysterious than he could have imagined; and in Jamestown, he finally earns himself a position as a physician’s apprentice, an ambition he has long harboured.

The East Indian is a Dickensian-style yarn about family, friendship, and finding oneself in the seeds of a new world.

Publisher Review

'Marvellous ... Richly imagined characters and keen explorations of identity, place, and the power of imagination drive this luminous achievement.' * Publisher's Weekly, starred review * 'History comes alive in this brilliant, highly-imaginative, and vivid novel. Immersive and revelatory - a stellar achievement.' -- E. C. Osondu, winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, author of This House is Not for Sale 'Tony, the "East Indian" of the title of Brinda Charry's utterly enjoyable debut novel, reads like a character straight out of Dickens. Based on an actual historical figure, the first person from India documented in the records of Colonial Virginia, Tony ventures into the entangled richness of a nascent America - a place he calls, "this precarious edge of the world." It is peopled by "servants" - both white and black, female and male - who find themselves as bound to the New World as they are to the Englishmen who rule it. Picaresque in style, lyrical of voice, gripping and authentic, The East Indian is a real treat.' -- David Wright Falade, author of Black Cloud Rising 'Filled with memorable characters, The East Indian grapples with the brutal colonialism and indentured labour of the 1600s with warmth and wit. An entertaining novel that adds more heft to Brinda Charry's already impressive oeuvre.' -- Shashi Tharoor, author of Inglorious Empire and Why I Am a Hindu 'What a vast and wondrous ocean of a novel this is - throwing up the unexpected and startling, the horrifying and utterly beautiful, moving from shore to shore with spectacularly skilful narrative poise. To journey with The East Indian is to journey through a world shape-shifting into the modern, a world being ravaged and transformed. It is to be reminded that amidst the rough sweep and scour of history, what remains precious are these timeless, enduring things - friendship, kindness, healing.' -- Janice Pariat, author of The Nine-Chambered Heart and Everything the Light Touches Praise for Brinda Charry: 'Brinda Charry is the real thing, a master at the top of her game. Her work engages the human condition and the personal with an intensity and authority that can only be explained by literary grace.' -- Arthur R. Flowers

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