Helium by Jaspreet Singh

Helium

Jaspreet Singh

Troubled academic Raj returns to India some 25 years after witnessing his Sikh Professor burned alive on a railway platform in the violent aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. This challenging and chilling novel often reads like non-fiction. It examines the impact of political actions, memory and responsibility on personal lives and how people come to terms (or not) with guilt and the horrors they experience.

Extract

In '84 from the upstairs room in my saviour's house where we were initially taken refuge, I had witnessed two women being raped. No clothes on, dishevelled hair, the women completely exposed. Four men discharged their hate into those two one by one, then again. Children were made to watch the spectacle and I had witnessed it all from the barsati.

Parallels
  • Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
  • Ice Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa
  • Austerlitz by WG Sebald