The books that inspired Sunjeev Sahota

By Vintage

By Vintage

To celebrate publication of his breathtaking new novel China Room, Booker-shortlisted author Sunjeev Sahota, shares some of the books which have inspired him.

 

'Sunjeev Sahota's writing is the stuff of miracles' Bryan Washington

 

'A gorgeous, gripping read' Kamila Shamsie

 

Mehar, a young bride in rural 1929 Punjab, is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. She and her sisters-in-law, married to three brothers in a single ceremony, spend their days hard at work in the family's 'china room', sequestered from contact with the men. When Mehar develops a theory as to which of them is hers, a passion is ignited that will put more than one life at risk.

 

Spiralling around Mehar's story is that of a young man who in 1999 travels from England to the now-deserted farm, its 'china room' locked and barred. In enforced flight from the traumas of his adolescence – his experiences of addiction, racism, and estrangement from the culture of his birth – he spends a summer in painful contemplation and recovery, finally gathering the strength to return home.

The Age of Innocence

Edith Wharton

£9.99 £9.49

So much of Wharton's work is grounded in triangulated dynamics, which are also important to how China Room works. This great love story is probably my favourite of her books.

A Month in the Country

J.L. Carr

£7.99 £7.59

I've always adored this short novel about the care afforded to outsiders. What a rare and uncommon book it is.

The Portrait of a Lady

Henry James

£6.99 £6.50

The story of a clever, young woman giving everything she's got in an effort to forge her own path. Not for nothing is there a nod to Isabel Archer in my book.

The Double: (Enemy)

Jose Saramago

£9.99 £9.49

Saramago is a real favourite of mine and the idea of the double, or the doppelgänger, was there when I was first thinking of my novel; arguably, it was still there at the end, too.

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