THE HOUSE NEXT TO THE FACTORY, available from HarperCollins India
Set largely in Delhi between 1980 and 2010, the nine interlinked stories in The House Next to the Factory follow Kavya and her post-Partition immigrant family, their servants, tutors, cousins and lovers, their loneliness, aspirations and small-scale ambitions.
Life in the house is humdrum and confining, but on a rare evening Kavya sets out in search of a nun; a beloved teacher is caught in the aftermath of the anti-Sikh riots; in England, an aunt reads William Trevor and pines for all that she has left behind; the family’s steel utensil business blossoms, and amid the clanging of metal and the churning of machines, the household transitions from bourgeois to elite. Yet at thirty, Kavya finds herself in Paris, hoping to get past the sorrows of her young life…
Delicate and finely textured, Sonal Kohli’s extraordinary debut lays bare the complexities of class and culture, even as it evokes the loves and triumphs, the pull of incongruous desires and the tragedies of everyday life.