Inheritance (2013)

 

Inheritance

(2013)

BY BALLI KAUR JASWAL


Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist Award 2014, WINNER

Readings Book of the Month

Inheritance is a nation’s coming-of-age story, seen through the sharp lens of a traditional Punjabi family as it gradually unravels.

Set in Singapore between the 1970’s and 1990’s, Inheritance follows the familial fissures that develop after teenaged Amrit disappears in the middle of the night. Although her absence is brief, she returns as a different person.

Over two decades, as Singapore’s political, social and cultural landscapes change, the family’s attempts to cope with the shifts—those coming from outside and from within—lead to some disastrous consequences. With the traditional expectations of their country on the one hand, and their own volition on the other, Amrit’s family must avoid imploding. How do we confront our legacies, and, when necessary, how do we accept change? Inheritance is a universal story of family, identity and belonging.

Jaswal makes a debut of an imaginative boldness and assurance…
— Peter Pierce, The Monthly
A rich and gorgeous portrait of a family—and nation—struggling against history, culture, and the grief of smashed hope.
— Emily Maguire
An exceptional debut. Balli Kaur Jaswal reveals the conflicts at the heart of one Punjabi family with such compassion, such accuracy, the effect is compelling. Her gifts are immense.
— Andrew Cowan
[The book] is mesmerising. Balli Kaur Jaswal’s voice is rich in detail and emotional truth. I was carried away with the characters’ hopes and hurts. The book reminded me of the weight of family, but also how lost we are without it.
— Simmon Howell
A vivid, compelling tale of selfhood, fraught blood ties and the devastating weight of change.
— Meg Mundell
[The book] is a moving and assured debut, a perfectly balanced allegory, where the individual struggles of a family are underscored by the larger picture of nation-building and national identity. Balli Kaur Jaswal writes with compassion, intelligence and an empathetic eye, transporting the reader effortlessly through time and between points of view.
— Leanne Hall
Jaswal’s wonderful debut didn’t merely transport me to a country I knew nothing about, or introduce me to a family the likes of which I’d never meet. She made me long for her Singapore like a lost home, and miss her characters like departed friends. What an extraordinary thing for a novel to do.
— Alexander Yates