Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree wins Booker Prize 2022 & English Pen Award
Tomb of Sand or Ret Samadhi (रेत समाधी) in Hindi is a story of an old woman. What she feels as a woman or as a human in different situations. The story is set in the culture of north India. The husband of an eighty year old woman dies. The woman goes into deep depression and sticks to a wall. She suspends all worldly activities as if she is a deadwood now. Suddenly she resurrects and is live to the lively world. She decides to fly to Pakistan, which was actually the part of India until 1947. This is the first sign the author wants the protagonist to fly breaking the chain of the society that puts a person down, crawling on the ground.
The octogenarian makes friendship with a transgender, which does not go well with other members of the family, who think they are modern. This is the second big leap from the conventional society as mixing with a transgender is not considered good by the people.
The story portrays the trauma of partition of a country, stigma the society is burdened with, breakthrough from the traditional culture, the issues of geographical boundaries and gender inequality, and struggle of creating a space for oneself. The story raises a number of questions but in indirect ways.
The writing is innovative in many ways. Tone is playful, language is new and reflects the global appeal, expression is clear and witty, all leading to literary beauty.
Originally written in Hindi by Geetanjali Shree with the title रेत समाधी (Ret Samadhi), the story has been translated into various languages including English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean.
The English version has bene translated by Daisy Rockwell, which has won the book the Booker Prize 2022. This book is also the winner of an English Pen Award.
About the Author
Geetanjali Shree, based in Delhi, India, is an author and has written several story collections and three novels till date. Her stories are innovative and have been translated into many languages.