Published 1 June 2016
ISBN ePUB: 9781925384932
Categories: Modern contemporary fiction, historical fiction
Hebe de Souza spent her glorious formative years in her beloved hometown of Kanpur, North India. Her first novel, Black British, is based on her experiences growing up in an affluent Goan family in post-Independence India, a nation recently emerged from the shadows of the British Empire. She currently lives with her husband in Tweed Valley where the magpies sing them awake every morning.
A sharply funny yet poignant story about a courageous girl growing up in 1960s North India, from an exciting new voice in Australian fiction.
In the turbulent years that follow the British Empire’s collapse in India, rebellious and inquisitive Lucy de Souza is born into an affluent Indian family that once prospered under the Raj. Known as Black British because of their English language and customs, when the British deserted India Lucy’s family was left behind, strangers in their own land.
Now living isolated from the hostile locals who see her family as remnants of an oppressive regime, a young Lucy grows up in the confines of their grand yet ramshackle home located in the dry, dispirited plains of Kanpur. But when it is time to start her education, Lucy finds herself angry and alone, struggling to find her place in this gentle country ravaged by poverty and hardship, surrounded by girls who look like her but don’t speak her language.
Encouraged by her strong-minded mother and two older sisters, as she matures the ever-feisty Lucy begins to question the injustices around her, before facing a decision that will change the course of her life forever.
A richly visceral and stunning debut, based on the author’s own childhood, Black British is an unflinching and beautiful narrative about feminism, family and the search for identity.
PRAISE FOR BLACK BRITISH
'4 stars. A poignant, richly detailed account of one family's experiences living in 1960s India.' Books+Publishing
'Colourful and evocative' Sydney Morning Herald
'Beautifully written' The Advertiser
'Capturing the innocence of youth this novel has a charming authentic voice and I loved every word of it' Reading, Writing and Riesling
'A coming-of-age story that would leave you thinking about its themes of family and injustices long after you’ve read the last sentence' Planet Books
'This is a strong debut from de Souza and I would be interested in seeing what she comes up with next' The Bookshelf Gargoyle
'With the obvious insight of someone who has 'been there, done that', Black British tells the story of this period of India's history from a vastly different perspective' The Senior
'Hebe de Souza writes very beautifully, in an almost sing-song way, and the whole book is extraordinarily detailed and descriptive' Duffy the Writer