New Delhi, December 16 (IANS): At the foot of the Western Ghats, the village of Vaiga is going through the worst storm it has seen in decades: incessant rain, fallen trees, a flooded river, a severe power outage… But another, more insidious storm is brewing beneath the facade of provincial life. It begins as a rumor of an illicit affair – a rumor that brings Saud and his sons to Vaiga in search of Burhan. Rumors soon take on a life of their own, embellished by frantic WhatsApp messages, with everyone turning into guardians of morality even as they revel in the salacious details of the alleged affair.
In the ensuing chaos, fueled by petty grievances and wild speculation, Vaiga erupts in violence as mobs take to the streets, crying for blood.
Precisely written and convincingly conceived, Sahara Nusaiba Kannanari’s “Chronicle of an Hour and a Half” is a riveting, disturbing read about violence and complicity.
Commenting on the purchase, Kannanari said: “While writing this novel set in a close-knit village in WhatsApp-obsessed Kerala, I may have been thinking of Don Delillo’s premonition that as technology advances in scope and complexity, fear becomes increasingly primitive. He concludes the prologue of his masterpiece -works from 1991. ‘Mao II’ another prediction – the future belongs to the crowds. Perhaps I put those two statements in conversation to convey this rather violent view of contemporary India. This is my debut, and I’m glad the book will have its best friends in Karthika, Ajitha, Minakshi and others in Westland.”
Karthika VK, publisher, Westland Books, said: “There is something urgent and poignant about this brilliantly conceived debut novel. Every scene in it plays out so vividly and on so many levels that it’s like you’re reading and listening and watching, all at the same time .”
Ajitha GS, publisher, Context, said, “Saharu’s novel is a rare thing – a completely original voice in English-language literature in India. The novel transports the reader almost deep into the village of Vaiga, where events rapidly unfold to a terrifying conclusion. I read it without breath, in one breath.”
Saharu Nusaiba Kannanari lives in the small town of Areekode, near Calicut, Kerala. He graduated from Aligarh Muslim University and received his MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This is his first novel.