Author(s): Jaspreet Singh
On 1 November 1984, a day after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination, a nineteen-year-old student, Raj, travels back from a class trip with his mentor, Professor Singh. As the group disembark at Delhi station a mob surrounds the professor, throws a tyre over him, douses him in petrol and sets him alight. Years later, after moving to the United States, Raj finds himself compelled to return to India to find his professor's widow, the beautiful and enigmatic Nelly. As the two walk through the misty mountains of Shimla, painful memories emerge, and Raj realises he must face the truth about his father's role in the genocidal pogrom. But, as they soon discover, the path leads inexorably back to that day at the train station. In this lyrical and haunting exploration of one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Indian nation, Jaspreet Singh has crafted an affecting and important story of memory, collective silences and personal trauma.
A luminous, profound novel that wrestles with one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Indian nation
Singh writes of a beautiful place that dances on the razor wire of India and Pakistan's disputed border. His prose redefines an exhausted situation, giving it new light Justine Hardy, The Times on Chef Its themes of food and war and love and poetry form a series of intricate tightropes that the author treads skilfully, bringing us, in a short book, a lot of pleasures Michael Palin, Observer Books of the Year Extraordinary ... an elegant, angry novel written with eerie grace and quiet courage ... The calm, haunted narrator carefully gathers together anecdotes and details, memories and feelings to tell a story as sharp as a blade Eileen Battersby, Irish Times A subtle, lyrical novel ... infused with a sense of the beauty of the Kashmir landscape, the pain of unrequited love, and the ugliness of the hostilities between India and Pakistan Independent on Sunday Jaspreet Singh's Chef carries the scents of cardamon, ice and sweat, is written with such a keen sense of rhythm that you can hear the book as you read it, and is placed not only between India and Pakistan but intriguingly between delicate cuisines and crude politics. The novel is transporting - an experience that is not easily laid to rest Mark Kurlansky Chef is a haunting evocation of the emotional and physcial landscapes of war-torn Kashmir. Jaspreet Singh is a very learned, gifted, and sensitive writer Basharat Peer An elegy to the beauty of Kashmir, written with a sinuous elegance Kate Saunders, The Times
Born in India, Jaspreet Singh moved to Canada in 1990. He is a novelist, essayist, short story writer and a former research scientist. He received his doctorate in chemical engineering in 1998 from McGill University, Montreal, and two years later decided to focus full time on writing. Seventeen Tomatoes, his debut story collection, won the 2004 Quebec First Book Prize. Chef, his first novel, about the damaged landscapes of Kashmir, was a 2010 Observer Book of the Year and won the Canadian Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. He has also been a finalist for four awards including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book. His work was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Punjabi and Farsi. He lives in Toronto. www.jaspreetsinghauthor.com