Jivan Singh, the bastard scion of the Devraj family, returns to his childhood home after a long absence – only to witness the unexpected resignation of the ageing patriarch from the vast corporation he founded, the Devraj Company. On the same day, Sita, Devraj’s youngest daughter, absconds – refusing to submit to the marriage her father wants for her. Meanwhile, Radha and Gargi, Sita’s older sisters, are handed the Company… And so begins a brutal, deathly struggle for power, ranging over the luxury hotels and spas of New Delhi and Amritsar, the Palaces and slums of Napurthala, to Srinagar, Kashmir.
Told in astonishing prose – a great torrent of words and imagery – We that are young is a modern-day King Lear that bursts with energy and fierce, beautifully measured rage. Set against the backdrop of the anti-corruption riots in 2011–2012, it provides startling insights into modern India, the clash of youth and age, the hectic pace of life in one of the world’s fastest growing economies – and the ever-present spectre of death. More than that, this is a novel about the human heart. And its breaking point.
Praise for We That Are Young
"I spent too much of this (and last) year reading anaemic updatings of Shakespeare plays: pale novels which borrowed plots and missed points and, oddly, always misunderstood the minor characters. After these, Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young came as a relief and a surprise. Her novel is big, beautiful, and most of all bold: a rewriting of King Lear, transplanted to modern day Delhi, which is both a dazzlingly original reading of the play and a full novel in its own right. A masterpiece, and by a long way my book of the year." ~ Daniel Swift, The Spectator
"Brilliant... Finely crafted... Taneja has given us that rarest of beasts, a page-turner that is also unabashedly political." ~ The Guardian
"Revelatory... Urgent and irresistible... One of the most exquisite and original novels of the year." ~The Sunday Times
"Wonderful... Looks set to hold a mirror to our times." ~The Observer
"In years to come, Preti Taneja will be known as one of the UK's most important writers." ~ Nikesh Shukla
"The writing is stunning... turns of phrase are to be savoured, imagery basked in. A literary feast - Preti Taneja deserves all the commendations." ~ Never Imitate
"In a brilliant, sharp adaptation, Preti Taneja shows her profound understanding not just of Shakespeare and India, but of human nature itself. Heartbreaking. A poetic tour de force." ~ Vishal Bhardwaj
"Sharp, cogent, and evocative... The great appeal of We that are young concerns the serving of justice: discovering who gets what, as opposed to who deserves what." ~ The New Statesman
"A remarkable picture of contemporary India... Taneja s sensuous writing brings women s predicaments to life - a chilling warning." ~ The Irish Times
"An instant classic. Stunning. Gripping. Before I run out of praise - just read it." ~ Rishi Dastidar
"The best book set in India... since A Suitable Boy. She writes gloriously." ~ Backlisted
"With We that are young, Preti Taneja has written an enthralling, brave, and very important book." ~ Maureen Freely
"A truly magnificent novel: epic in scope and fizzing with originality. Taneja's is a powerful and arresting voice. We that are young tells a piercing tale of modern India - and of modern womanhood - that is brutally honest. It lingers in the mind long after the last page." ~Jodie Ginsberg, Index on Censorship
"An absolutely fantastic book. The Lear background made it feel as though I was re-reading a very old and much loved novel for the second time, picking up on new and fascinating thoughts and connections, even while I forgot that Lear was there at all. We that are young is beautifully, beautifully written." ~ The Conversation
PRETI TANEJA was born in the UK to Indian parents and spent most of her childhood holidays in New Delhi. She has worked as a human rights reporter and filmmaker on Iraq, in Jordan, Rwanda, and Kosovo, and her work has been published in the Guardian and Open Democracy. A fellow at Warwick University, in 2014 Preti’s novella Kumkum Malhotra won the Gatehouse Press New Fictions Prize. She is also the editor of Visual Verse and was selected as an AHRC/ BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker for 2014.