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An absolute page-turner, this powerful short novel by Upamanyu Chatterjee—the celebrated author of English, August—is his most accessible book to date. On a September night in 1949, a house goes up in flames in Batia town, burning, to soot and cinders, everything in it, including a family of six and their dog. The head of the family, Nadeem Dalvi, had been the subordinate mamlatdar of Madhusudan Sen, ICS, the Magistrate of Batia, and his trusted supplier of fresh eggs, fish and red meat. When it is discovered that the deaths had not been accidental or caused by fire, Sen vows to turn vegetarian until justice has been done. In this novella of stunning force and impact, a true original of Indian writing is in brilliant form.