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An Extraordinary Destiny

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Original Language: English | 384 pp. | May 2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch and French (excluding Canada) Rights.

LITERARY FICTION | COMING OF AGE

“A good start for a debut novelist; a worthy read” —The Globe and Mail

“In An Extraordinary Destiny, Shekhar Paleja weaves together a number of characters’ stories, all of them influenced in some way by predestiny and the consequences of a few choices . . . These characters’ stories influence one another compellingly, making An Extraordinary Destiny hold together despite its wide-ranging structure, and helping it reveal how each character carries with him the choices of generations.”
—Foreword Reviews

“Epic . . . Shekhar Paleja’s debut marks the arrival of a stunning new writer . . . The comparisons to the work of award-winning Indian-American novelist Jhumpa Lahiri are going to be inevitable and fast coming.” —Minelle Mahtani, Sense of Place on Roundhouse Radio

It’s 1947 in Lahore, and the Sharma family is forced to flee their home during the violence of the Partition of India. As the train tracks measure the ever-growing distance between Varoon and his mother, who vanished during the panic to escape, the boy is thrust towards an uncertain future.

Forty years later, Varoon’s grown son, Anush, desperately tries to disentangle himself from his father’s demands, which are mired in grief and whiskey. Compounding the pressure is an unusually auspicious kundali—a Vedic birth chart—which threatens to suffocate Anush with lofty expectations. But when he meets Nasreen, he feels he may finally be experiencing the incredible fate foretold. Until his father interferes and blocks his chance at true happiness.

Threading artfully through three generations of an Indian family, An Extraordinary Destiny crafts an intricate narrative that reveals, in layers, how decades-old grief rooted in the trauma of history, and couched in familial duty and custom, threaten to sever the sacred connection between ancestors and descendants.