Geetanjali Shree’s ‘Tomb of Sand’ made history by becoming the first Hindi novel to be awarded the prestigious 2022 International Booker Prize. Originally published as ‘Ret Samadhi‘, the book has been translated into English by author-translator Daisy Rockwell.
The book has the distinction of being the first in any Indian language to win the prestigious award that recognises and honours fiction from all over the world. The story is essentially about an octogenarian, who falls into depression following the death of her husband, but eventually bounces back to challenge conventions, such as striking a friendship with a transgender person, deciding to travel to Pakistan to confront the ghosts of her past; from the vicious Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 and figuring out what it means to be a mother, woman, and a feminist. The book, at the same time, is also relevant and urgent in the face of modern problems like national conflicts, boundaries, religion and gender identity.
After winning the prize, the author said, “There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it. ‘Ret Samadhi/Tomb of Sand’ is an elegy for the world we inhabit, a lasting energy that retains hope in the face of impending doom. The Booker will surely take it to many more people than it would have reached otherwise, that should do the book no harm.”
- Staff Reporter