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Description

At the turn of the twentieth century, Pirbhai, a teenage boy looking for work, is taken from his village in India to labor on the East African Railway for the British. One day Pirbhai commits an act to ensure his survival that will haunt him forever and reverberate across his family's future for years to come.
  
 Pirbhai's children are born and raised under the jacaranda trees and searing sun of Kampala during the waning days of British colonial rule. As Uganda moves towards independence and military dictatorship, Pirbhai's granddaughters, Latika, Mayuri, and Kiya, are three sisters coming of age in a divided nation. As they each forge their own path for a future, they must carry the silence of the history they've inherited. In 1972, under Idi Amin's brutal regime and the South Asian expulsion, the family has no choice but to flee, and in the chaos, they leave something devastating behind.
  
As Pirbhai's grandchildren, scattered across the world, find their way back to each other in exile in Toronto, a letter arrives that stokes the flames of the fire that haunts the family. It makes each generation question how far they are willing to go, and who they are willing to defy to secure their own place in the world.

A History of Burning is an unforgettable tour de force, an intimate family saga of complicity and resistance, about the stories we share, the ones that remain unspoken, and the eternal search for home.

What's Inside

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Praise

“A riveting testament to home, exile, survival, and inheritance. Janika Oza is a writer you won’t want to miss”—Lisa Ko, National Book Award finalist for The Leavers
A History of Burning is that rare epic that manages to retain both its sweep and its intimacy. Janika Oza has written a generational saga vivid and alive with sensory and historical detail, an excavation of stories often left untold. There is so much insight here into the aftershocks of colonialism and displacement, the way one generation’s decisions, be they voluntary or compelled or somewhere in between, can reverberate through the ages and change lives yet to be lived. This is a beautiful book, unflinching yet deeply engaged with that most human work, the work of forgiveness.”—Omar El Akkad, author of American War
A History of Burning is as transfixing as a flame. Janike Oza writes strikingly and steadily, with exquisite, incisive detail, about making one's home in imperfect places. This is a book about what it means to be part of a family and lineage, in all its heartbreaking and wondrous complexity."—Rachel Khong, award-winning author Goodbye, Vitamin
"Intimate and epic… A hymn for the ancestors, and the bitter, radiant acts of their survival: this book is a triumph."—Shruti Swamy, author of A House is a Body
“Oza’s writing reminds people that vulnerability and openness are the only ways we can save each other. A History of Burning is the art we need now.”—Megan Giddings, author of Lakewood
“Ambitious in scope and dazzlingly executed... A tour de force.”—Sharon Bala, author of The Boat People
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