I knew of Anjali Enjeti as co-founder of the Georgia chapter of They See Blue, an organization to encourage progressive South Asian Americans to be politically engaged. Like many others, I was eager to see two Democratic senators elected from Georgia, and I was part of a letter-writing campaign from Ohio to Georgians.
I was therefore very interested to learn that Anjali Enjeti is also an author! The Parted Earth, published in May 2021, takes place in 1947 in India as well as in present-day Georgia, with scenes in London as well. When the British colonial rulers were finally pushed out of India, the country was separated into two. Partition created a majority-Muslim Pakistan and a majority-Hindu India. It was a violent and tragic time, with Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs beaten and killed as they tried to flee one country for the other.
The jacket flap copy of this book makes it seem like the book is about Deepa, who was a teenager during Partition, as well as her granddaughter, who lives in present-day Georgia. In reality, the novel is more than just their stories. I would say that the main character in this book is Partition itself. We experience the tragedy of Partition through Deepa’s eyes, but also through the story of her boyfriend Amir and Amir’s sister Laila. And we also learn of a horrifying event in Harjeet’s life. The events of Partition reverberate through the generations, and we learn how they affect Shan, Deepa’s granddaughter, as well as Harjeet’s wife (who is Shan’s friend).
The Parted Earth does not proceed chronologically, but shifts between the historic settings and events, and present-day situations. Dates and locations are provided in the chapter headers. The story has many moments of compassion, friendship, and love, adding empathy and poignancy to the tragic events. I found myself crying after reading some of the later chapters. Anjali Enjeti’s writing is simple and clear, allowing readers into the lives of these interesting characters.
The author photo above is from Anjali Enjeti’s website.