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Gatehouse New Fictions #1: ‘Kumkum Malhotra’ by Preti Taneja

Gatehouse press are pleased to announce the publication of Preti Taneja’s novella Kumkum Malhotra.

Taneja’s story was one of two selected winners in the Gatehouse New Fiction’s Prize in 2014.

Look how we disappear : from a family, from a life, from a story.

In a small house in Nizamudin, Kumkum Malhotra prepares herself for the evening ahead. Outside, the children are playing in the yard. Her daughter Nunni with a dolly, her niece Madhu on the swing. Her son Ashish in the corner, hiding something with his gang.

Then an accident calls Kumkum down. As she breaks the circle of boys, her carefully planned evening unravels and with it, her sense of self.

In language whose very precision seems a structural edifice for Kumkum’s survival, Preti Taneja tells a familiar tale with startling freshness and an original, exacting style.

“With its beautifully sculpted surfaces and terrifying depths, this novel literally took my breath away.  As its heroine unravels, its author strips a family and a society bare.  All this in light, bright prose that echoes Katherine Mansfield, only to surpass her.”

– Maureen Freely

Preti Taneja’s beautiful novella is evocative, elegant, sparse and yet enormously full. A story that, to many of us, might seem ‘other’, becomes inclusive and deeply engaging, all of it woven from a single loose thread.”

– Stella Duffy

“Preti Taneja is a writer to watch, no doubt about it”

–  Deborah Levy

“Preti Taneja’s talent lies in doing what all the greatest stories do: creating from the specific a deeply moving universal, one that is perfectly paced and which, once read, lodges itself in the innermost rooms of your heart.”

– Tania Hershman

Preti Taneja was born in the UK to Indian parents and spent most of her childhood holidays in New Delhi. She has worked as a human rights editor, reporter and filmmaker on Iraq, in Jordan, Rwanda, and Kosovo and Kenya among other places and her work has been published in the Guardian, Open Democracy and by the BBC.

She is now a writer and academic with interests in postcolonial literature and Shakespeare adaptations, particularly in conflict and postconflict zones. Following a nationwide search she was selected as an AHRC/ BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker for 2014. Kumkum Malhotra is her first published fiction.

Posted 6 years ago

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