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One Small Voice

UK Publisher: Fig Tree at Penguin

India, 1992. The country is ablaze with riots. In Lucknow, ten year old Shughankar witnesses a terrible act of mob violence in which his family are complicit: an act that will alter the course of his life.

In the two decades that follow, Shabby must wrestle with the ghosts of his past, the expectations of his family and the seismic shifts taking place around him as the country enters the new millennium. As an adult in Mumbai, he encounters Syed and Shruti, who, like him, are seeing the freedom to rewrite their stories while navigating the contradictions of modern India. As the rising tide of nationalism sweeps across the country , their friendship becomes a rock they all cling to.

Until one day, Shabby makes a split second decision that will change everything.


‘A joy to read, a full universe of feeling, an effortless page-tuner by a born storyteller’. Max Porter

‘An exceptional debut. Bhattacharya gives us India in all its messy glory. There is a timeless, mythical quality to this book and yet it manages to be so perfectly contemporary, touching on politics and family and friendship all through the eyes of a boy caught in a moment of darkness, trying to find his way out.

The narrative simmers with violence, past and present. The structure is tightly held and from the start you have complete faith that Bhattacharya will take you to all the right places.

Heartbreaking and yet so full of hope.’ Melody Razak, author of Moth

‘One Small Voice is a thrilling novel about how one horrific incident can echo through a life, changing it irrevocably. Bhattacharya writes beautifully about friendship, family and the devastating consequences of secrecy and shame in a narrative that powerfully evokes the complexities of coming of age in modern India.’Ben Fergusson

Santanu Bhattacharya is the author of One Small Voice (Fig Tree, Penguin), an Observer Best Debut Novel for 2023. He grew...