About the book
Things To Leave Behind - a rich, panoramic historical novel that shows you Kumaon and the Raj as you have never seen them
1856, in picturesque Kumaon: six native women clad in black and scarlet pichauras gather around Naini Lake, determined to cleanse it of threatening new influences. For these are the days of firanghee Raj, of Upper Mall Road (‘for Europeans and horses’) and Lower Mall Road (‘for dogs, servants and other Indians’). We follow the intertwined story of spirited Tillotama Uprety whose uncle is hanged during the ‘Mutiny’, her troubled daughter Deoki, missionary Rosemary Bodden and Deoki’s husband Jayesh Jonas into Bodden’s utopian Eden Ashram, where artist William Dempster seeks out new Indias. At its heart lies one singular painting: a portrait of love, longing and courage.
Set in the years 1840 to 1912, Things to Leave Behind chronicles the mixed legacy of the British Indian past and the emergence of a fragile modernity. Illuminated with painstaking detail, told with characteristic narrative skill, this compelling historical novel is Namita Gokhale's most ambitious work yet.
Early praise for the book: ‘Things to Leave Behind is a personal story of the way that the caste system in India—and by extension, race and class systems everywhere—imprison the humanity of those within them. This is doubly true for women who are supposed to reproduce that hierarchy. Reading about this past will help us question its echoes in our own present.’ - Gloria Steinem
Praise for the author:
‘An extremely seasoned writer’ – The Times
‘The writer has a stealthy knack of almost whispering in your ear as you read along… wrought with incredible skill’ – India Today