The novel tackles the subject of international adoptions with humor and insight.
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Chicago-based author Dipika Mukherjee won the Virginia Prize for Fiction, a UK literary prize, for her coming-of-age novel Shambala Junction. The novel is to be launched in the USA next month.
Set in India, the story is about Iris, an American who is visiting India for the first time with her fiancé and not enjoying the trip. When she steps down from the train at Shambala Junction to buy a bottle of water, little does she know that her life will radically change. Stranded at the small town, she becomes involved in a local stall-holder’s battle to recover a lost child - one which is about to be sold to a rich Westerner. Along the way, she discovers not only herself - but friendship, courage and a love of India.
Dipika Mukherjee's debut novel was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize then published as Thunder Demon (Gyaana, 2011, South Asia) and Ode to Broken Things (Repeater, 2016). She has one short story collection, Rules of Desire (Fixi, 2015) which is a bestseller in Malaysia, and has edited three anthologies on Southeast Asian fiction: Champion Fellas(Word Works, 2016), Silverfish New Anthology 6 (Silverfish, 2006) and The Merlion and Hibiscus (Penguin, 2002).
She won the 2014 Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award for Literary Excellence (USA) and the Platform Flash Fiction competition (India) in April 2009.
She is Contributing Editor of Jaggery and curated an Asian/American Reading Series for the Guild Literary Complex, Chicago. She holds a doctorate in English (Sociolinguistics), has taught language and linguistics in several countries and is a Faculty Affiliate at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies Northwestern University.
According to publisher Cheryl Robson:
“This novel was the clear winner of the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2016 from over 100 entries from around the world. It’s surprising for a novel to have such a light touch when dealing with the serious subject of child-trafficking, and the author manages to entertain us with the plight of the central character, a wealthy but naïve Asian American, who finds herself in the middle of a crisis, when the poor family who ‘adopt’ her have trouble regaining possession of their own baby.”
Dipika Mukherjee says in an interview for Rumpus(http://therumpus.net/2017/01/the-sunday-rumpus-interview-with-dipika-mukherjee/) “Here’s the truth: We have a problem with the trafficking of female children in India. People should be – and some are – fighting it. The feticide numbers for girls are horrifying. Telling a human story, with individuals experiencing the effects of an actual political issue – that’s my part in shaking the ground.”