This was a brutal read and it really was about endurance. How much endurance these two girls had, how their love would endure, and how much the reader could take, reading about the girls’ suffering. Girls in India, especially, poor girls, have it especially hard and it seemed that bad things happening to them, are almost inevitable, given their low status and disposability. And, sheer will power will only get them so far. This book is just so beautifully written that endurance, as a reader, becomes effortless.— Audrey H.
Longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
"Incandescent...A searing portrait of what feminism looks like in much of the world." --Vogue
"A treat for Ferrante fans, exploring the bonds of friendship and how female ambition beats against the strictures of poverty and patriarchal societies." --The Huffington Post
An electrifying debut novel about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstance but relentless in their search for one another.
Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother's death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend.
Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls' perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.
About the Author
Shobha Rao moved to the United States from India at the age of seven. She is the author of the short story collection An Unrestored Woman. She is the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, and her story "Kavitha and Mustafa" was chosen by T. C. Boyle for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 2015. She lives in San Francisco.