By: Asjad Nazir
Acclaimed 1992 book Surya’s Wheel was the first part of a fascinating trilogy. A 30th anniversary edition of the Partition Set story was recently republished to mark 75 years of Indian independence this year.
The story revolves around young brothers and sisters in Punjab who are caught up in the turmoil of Indian independence and the horrors of partition. Their father has not returned from England, where he had gone to study years before, and they become estranged from their family. The brave brother and sister must embark on a journey of survival, both emotional and physical, which will eventually lead them to England in search of their father.
It may be essentially a children’s book written 30 years ago, but this beautifully crafted novel has a timeless quality and contemporary relevance, which will help it connect with cross-generational readers.
Unlike many partition stories, this gives a fascinating insight into life before India’s independence and one after on foreign shores. At the heart of the action are two very endearing young protagonists, who give a different look at one of the most important periods in history.
By focusing on two very young characters, the author gives the story an almost adventurous feel as they have to overcome obstacles and packs the pages with real emotions that are relatable. It also avoids many of the troupes and cliches that often accompany stories in the same setting.
The fluid style makes it an easy read that has lost none of its impact.
The book ends beautifully with bonus features that include an interview with the author, an informative map and fascinating facts about India, which adds an extra layer by providing readers, especially young people, with additional knowledge about the country.
It makes collectively Surya’s Wheel a welcome return and will no doubt make you want to check out the other two books in the series and the author’s latest novel Never Forget You, which also has a historical setting.