Sakina’s Kiss by Vivek Shanbhag

Shanbhag’s previous novel, Ghachar Ghochar, was a global literary sensation, receiving critical recognition and commercial success

National, 4th September, 2023: Kannada author, Vivek Shanbhag, ends the eight-year drought for his readers in English with a new novel, Sakina’s Kiss. Translated by Sahitya Akademi Award winner, Srinath Perur, and published by Penguin Random House India, it is currently on pre-order in select bookstores and will be on e-commerce platform next week onwards. The novel was originally published in Kannada in 2021 as Sakinala Muttu.

Vivek Shanbhag

Sakina’s Kiss 
is a precise meditation on the persistence of old biases, and a rattled masculinity, in India’s changing socio-political landscape. Set over four mostly sleepless days, the protagonist, Venkat, and his family find their lives turned upside down as they get embroiled in a world of streets gangs and murky journalism. The novel, a literary masterpiece, keeps readers on the edge even as it interrogates the space between truth and perception. 

Expressing his thoughts, the author of the bestselling Ghachar Ghochar, Vivek Shanbhag said, “The world works in mysterious ways and my writing confirms this to me. Being translated by Srinath Perur is a process that can take me deeper into my own work. I am grateful for his generosity of spirit and attention to craft. Grateful too to my publishers, Penguin Randon House India, and especially my editor, Elizabeth Kuruvilla.”

Sharing his excitement, Srinath Perur, who also writes about science and travel and is co-translator of Girish Karnad’s memoirs, said, “One of the things I love about books in translation is that they can shake up the way we think about form and literary convention. Sakina’s Kiss is a fast-paced novel, a thriller almost. But it’s also making profound observations about the limits of our understanding, about how what goes on in our heads and what happens in our homes can’t be separated from the events of the wider world. The book has been great fun to work on and I’m thrilled it will be in the hands of readers soon.”

Vivek Shanbhag

Associate Publisher, Penguin Random House India, Elizabeth Kuruvilla, said, ”We are deeply honoured and excited to be publishing Vivek Shanbhag’s Sakina’s Kiss. It’s an exquisite piece of literature, and Vivek a superb illusionist in the subtle way in which he manipulates what readers see and read into the narrative. His previous work  transformed the way we approached novels in translation in this country, and with this book too we know that in Srinath Perur’s unassuming person lies one of our very best translators. I thank them both for trusting Penguin with this novel.”

Advance Praise

“‘What a book! Quietly unsettling, this extraordinary book sets out as a humdrum account of humdrum everyday life and ends up baring the petty deceit and deception naturalized into the order of respectable human ways.”

-Geetanjali Shree, author of the International Booker Prize-winning Tomb of Sand

“If you read one book from India, read Sakina’s Kiss. If you want to read one novel from anywhere in the world, read Sakina’s Kiss.”

– Mohammed Hanif, author of the Commonwealth Book Prize-winning A Case of Exploding Mangoes and Our Lady of Alice Bhatti

‘Tense, taut and compulsively readable’

-Deepa Anappara, author of the Edgar Award-winning Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

““Astonishingly truthful and marvellously playful, Sakina’s Kiss is an extraordinary novel.”

– Megha Majumdar, author of the Whiting Prize-winning The Burning

Vivek Shanbhag