Witness the Night

Witness the Night

Book - 2012
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In a small town in the heart of India, a young girl, barely alive, is found in a sprawling home where thirteen people lie dead. The girl has been beaten and abused. The house still smoulders from the fire that raked through it. The girl now awaits her trial for the murders that the local police believe she has committed. But an unconventional social worker, Simran Singh, is convinced of her innocence. As she begins to examine the circumstances around the case, she encounters a terrifying web of prejudice and deceit in which lives of women are endangered from birth.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9780143120971
Branch Call Number: DES
Characteristics: 242 p.


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Sep 06, 2018

My GM at the bookstore handed me an advanced reader's copy that he got from the Penguin rep. I guess he figured I'd like it, as it did win the Costa First Novel Award and the author is South Asian. I also tend to like well-written literary detective novels. The idea behind this story, (child sexual abuse, infanticide, foeticide, and other forms of corruption in contemporary Indian culture) seemed like it would be heavy-handed. This would make for a great work of non-fiction if the real story behind this poorly written narrative were to come to light in a different genre. I think this would work fine for genre mystery reader's who may expect less in writing style than traditional literature, but that may not be the case either as there are a lot of great mystery writers who are great not only because of their stories but primarily because of the writing style. The protagonist is rather a pathetic stereotype of a hard-drinking hard-boiled detective but without the real tough guy exterior traits, as the character is a woman and a bit of a psychological head-case. I don't think that more novels based on this character would be a good idea, but then a first novel doesn't always come out great in style.

Dec 06, 2017

Winner of the 2010 Costa First Novel Award. This novel tells of police corruption and extreme patriarchy in India, a country where girl babies are unwanted and unloved, and the impact of this patriarchy on the lives of girls and women. The story is a mystery, being unravelled by an atypical social worker. The book is flawed in some ways, but tells an intriguing story.

Sep 26, 2013

A fascinating and engrossing story of the entanglements that bind family and small town in a web of tradition, expectation, and crimes. The reader might think they know what will happen next. They don't.

Apr 05, 2013

I do not have much knowledge about Indian traditions, certainly not Indian words of which there are many. There is a great deal of narrative and introspection and very little dialogue - there is a good story, but for me it was buried too deep.

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