The Heart Asks Pleasure First – Karuna Ezara Parikh
‘A luminous, hypnotic novel, as much about the beauty of language as it is about the struggles of life’ – ANN PATCHETT, author of The Dutch House and Bel Canto
‘A tender, elegant exploration of what it means to love as the world devolves into division and chaos. A wonderful debut’ – PRAYAAG AKBAR, author of Leila
‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First is about love across generations and boundaries, and friendships in the most unexpected places, about the many shades of faith, the danger and freedom of both belonging and unbelonging. With this wise and tender novel, Karuna Ezara Parikh will break, and heal, your own heart’ – NILANJANA ROY, author of Wildings and The Hundred Names of Darkness
‘Enthralling and affecting, The Heart Asks Pleasure First blends folklore and facts, politics and poetry to create an intoxicating and immersive exploration of the forces that shape our world and relationships. This is prose that roams through the body and widens the senses. I will return to this book again and again as a talisman for dissenting hearts’ – LISA RAY, author of Close to the Bone
‘Evocative and transporting. Parikh is a poet and it shows … This [book] is a fable for our time’ – AVNI DOSHI, author of Burnt Sugar/Girl in White Cotton
‘Karuna Ezara Parikh’s craft is first and foremost that of a poet, a gift she brings to prose through nimble, acrobatic, enchanting language … Poignant and powerful, her debut novel blurs the boundaries of landscape and love; with tenderness, it sews up a subcontinent divided … it left me mesmerized’ – AANCHAL MALHOTRA, author of Remnants of a Separation
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An extraordinary tale of love in a world being torn asunder.
It’s a sunny day in 2001 and Daya, a ballet student, is sitting in a park in Wales far away from her home in India. Unbeknownst to her, she is about to meet Aftab, a young Muslim lawyer from Pakistan, and fall inexplicably in love.
Even as Aaftab battles his heart, their relationship transcends the divides of religion, nationality and language. They forge profound bonds but the cataclysmic events of the year will have dangerous ramifications and push them to confront the most difficult complexities of their lives.
Set in a world of students but breathtaking in its expansiveness, The Heart Asks Pleasure First is a spellbinding first novel that speaks urgently to the frailties of our times. Karuna Ezara Parikh humanizes the big themes of friendship and family, migration and xenophobia, with the deftness of a poet and the magic of a born storyteller.
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