A Youthful & Personal Perspective on the Partition of India - The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani Review

Friday, March 9, 2018
The Night Diary Review

I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Dial Books!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

Historical fiction has been one of my go to genres since I first started reading (though it admittedly has been a bit sidelined by fantasy of late), and one of the reasons I've always loved it so much is that it offers the chance to experience events and societies of the past. The Indian partition is not a topic I'm well versed in, in fact, besides the American Revolution, I'm not extraordinarily well-versed in any historical periods (thanks American school system...), so I immediately jumped on the chance to have a literary introduction to the subject.

Synopsis & Details:

In the vein of Inside Out and Back Again and The War That Saved My Life comes a poignant, personal, and hopeful tale of India's partition, and of one girl's journey to find a new home in a divided country It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been read more... separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can't imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Told through Nisha's letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl's search for home, for her own identity...and for a hopeful future.

Title: The Night Diary
Series: N/A
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Genres: Historical, Middle Grade

The Night Diary is about a young half-Muslim, half-Hindu girl,

who, along with her family, undertakes the perilous journey from her home, in what is now Pakistan, to a newly redefined India. Nisha is the perfect narrator for this novel and the situation it handles. Her youthful intelligence and confusion at the violence and mob-mentality forming around her, really highlights the futility and tragedy of the situation.

History is filled with countless tragedies and atrocities, but today, when we discuss them, we tend to only concern ourselves with the bigger picture,

neglecting all the individual sufferings that amalgamated into such a tragedy. Novels like The Night Diary help remind us of these individuals and their personal sufferings that vast historical events tend to hide from view, they help us see history with a more empathic light.

Speaking of empathy, I quickly grew attached to Nisha and her family.

I don't want to go too in depth about their journey because spoilers, but it was honestly so heartbreaking. Nisha and her family really felt like real, living, breathing people, and I couldn't help but sob as they suffered, and happy cry as they prevailed. I don't know how Veera Hiranandani did it, but her characters have touched me so deeply. It's a bit too early to say for certain, but The Night Diary will likely be one of my favorite books of 2018.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

What's your take on how we interact with history? What things do you think we need to change?
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About the Author
Picture of Veera Hiranandani Veera Hiranandani earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of The Whole Story of Half a Girl, which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist. A former book editor, she now teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College's Writing Institute and Writopia Lab.
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