‘A warm, buoyant celebration of womanhood, humanity and solidarity.’
A People’s History of HeavenMathangi Subramanian
LONGLISTED FOR A PEN/FAULKNER AWARD, 2020
A dazzling tribute to the resilience and determination of a remarkable community of women
In the sprawling Bangalore slum of Heaven, five girls – Muslim, Christian and Hindu; gay and straight – form an unbreakable bond. These are girls who refuse to be silenced, no matter how much their city would like to forget they exist. But now Heaven is threatened by government bulldozers, and the friends must come together to protect the close-knit, vibrant community they call home.
Sparkling with passion and courage and laced with humour, this is the story of five unforgettable young women and their fierce determination, not only to survive, but to triumph.
‘The women are not there for our pity; they are there to be listened to. How refreshing.’
‘Subramanian writes with empathy and exuberance, offering a much-needed glimpse into a world that too many of us don't even know exists. This is a book to give your little sister, your mother, your best friend, yourself, so together you can celebrate the strength of women and girls, the tenacity it takes to survive in a world that would rather have you disappear.’
‘Subramanian's observations are sharp, witty, and incisive; her writing is consistently gorgeous. She is passionate about the plight of Indian girls subjected to a patriarchal system that ruthlessly oppresses and devalues them... In depicting the societal ills that oppress India's women, Subramanian refuses to acquiesce to the plot that fate seems to have written for these girls.’
'Even through the tragedies of lives lived in incomprehensible harshness, this is a beautifully crafted tale which glows with lyricism, colour and tenderness.'
‘Subramanian’s evocative novel weaves together a diverse, dynamic group of girls to create a vibrant tapestry of a community on the brink.’
‘Everything about A People's History of Heaven is wonderful: the lyrical, light touch of the narrator, the story, the humor, and most of all, the girls.’
‘A novel with a filmic quality… Brimming with warmth and good humour… quietly raises issues of equality and human rights… A book to savour and to make you smile.’
‘A girl power-fueled story that examines some dark social issues with a light . . . touch.’
‘How can a novel about a group of daughters and mothers on the verge of losing their homes in a Bangalore slum be one of the most joyful and exuberant books I’ve read? Subramanian writes without a shred of didacticism or pity, skillfully upending expectations and fiercely illuminating her characters’ strength, intelligence, and passionate empathy. A People’s History of Heaven should be a case study in how to write political fiction. Each page delighted and amazed me.’
‘A colourful, dramatic coming of age story.’
‘A People’s History of Heaven forefronts human dignity and the intelligence it takes to survive at the intersection of so much society uses to set people apart... Spending time with this fearsome five is...just plain fun.’