The Night Diary
Nisha and her twin brother, Amil, have lived in one part of India since their birth, when their mother died. When political unrest leads to the separation of India and the creation of Pakistan, Nisha's family is forced to leave their home. Although they must leave most of their belongings behind, Nisha carries her diary, in which she writes letters to her mother, and through her writing, she tries to sort out her understanding of her family and the frightening changes in the world around her.
This is a powerful story inspired by the author's father's journey after the Partition of India in 1947. In addition to the political conflict and struggle to survive, the story includes some interesting conflicts within the family. Nisha rarely speaks to anyone except Amil, so she has yet to find a friend. Papa's expectations for Amil are high, and the fact that reading and writing are so difficult for Amil causes continued strife between them. Nisha also has an extended family, in the form of a cook who has been with their family since before she was born, and her grandmother, so the family dynamics in this story are almost as complex as the national upheaval they are negotiating.
The writing is lyrical and yet accessible to readers who may not have any background about this period of history. Although there a lot of plot elements in this story, it explores a lot of meaningful ground - roles within a family, religious and political divisions, survival, leaving home, and finding out who you are.
Some explicit violence may make this book disturbing for sensitive readers.
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