Love the Dark Days headed to Indian bookstores

India-born Trinidadian multimedia journalist Ira Mathur. -
India-born Trinidadian multimedia journalist Ira Mathur. -

LOVE the Dark Days, journalist Ira Mathur's prizewinning memoir, will arrive in her homeland when it is released by an Indian publisher.

Speaking Tiger Books, in a news release on May 21, said it is delighted to announce the acquisition of the Indian publishing rights to Love the Dark Days from Peepal Tree Press (UK), the world’s foremost publisher of Caribbean writing.

Speaking Tiger Books is an independent publishing company, based in New Delhi.

Founded in September 2014, the company publishes a diverse list comprising quality fiction and non-fiction from South Asia and the rest of the world.

Ravi Singh, publisher at Speaking Tiger Books, called Love the Dark Days “compelling, an utterly distinctive memoir that we believe will deeply resonate with audiences here in South Asia.”

Mathur is an Indian-born Trinidadian multimedia journalist and a columnist with literature, law and journalism degrees.

She studied creative writing in London, with diplomas from the University of East Anglia and the Faber Academy.

Love the Dark Days is the autobiography of a girl born to a Muslim-Hindu couple – and related to the Nawabs and Begums of Bhopal – who moves to the Caribbean and struggles for years to find emotional stability and love.

Set in India, England and the Caribbean from the 1970s- 2017, Love the Dark Days follows the story of a girl, Poppet, born of mixed Hindu-Muslim parentage, from post-Independence India to postcolonial Trinidad.

Growing up in Bangalore with her mercurial maternal grandmother, Burrimummy, member of an aristocratic Muslim family whose history is one of having colluded with the British, Poppet unconsciously imbibes Burrimummy’s prejudices of class and race. As the darker-skinned child in her family, uncertain of her place in her glamorous mother’s affections or her grandmother’s, she feels she does not belong.

The feeling of unbelonging is repeated when she migrates with her parents to multicultural Trinidad, where she encounters Indian people, several generations away from India, who have a very different sense of themselves: they are critical of what they perceive as her upper-class airs and graces.

She marries into one such family, earning both love and pain. Lonely and confused, she begins writing about her experiences to try to make sense of them. In her darkest hour, she meets the Caribbean poet Derek Walcott, Nobel laureate, who encourages her to leave the past behind and reinvent herself.

Raw, unflinching, but not without humour, Love the Dark Days is described as an intricate tapestry about class, race, gender and the love-hate web of family – with a woman’s struggle for identity, love, and emotional stability at its centre.

Ira Mathur's Love the Dark Days -

The Bookseller magazine called Love the Dark Days a “gem of a memoir.”

Shrabani Basu, author of Victoria & Abdul, wrote of it: “Ira Mathur takes the reader deep into the darkest spaces of her family history. Relentlessly honest, she tells a story of dispossession, patriarchy, passion and the wounds of a divided inheritance. Moving from pre-Independence India to Trinidad and London, we see the growing pains of the author as she decodes her relationships with her glamorous parents, her beautiful, authoritative grandmother and her siblings…Ultimately, she must find her own voice, truth and reconciliation. A window into a world rich in history that few know about. A compelling read.”

Maggie Gee, first female chair of the Royal Society of Literature, said it was “Glorious writing full of hard-won wisdom. A transcendent memoir about extremes of love and hate, princely wealth and the rebellious, righteous poor. I loved it.”

In 2019 Mathur was longlisted for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize; in 2021, she was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award for her novel Touching Dr Simone. In 2022, Love the Dark Days was chosen as a top biography by the UK Guardian.

In 2023, Mathur won the OCM Bocas Prize for Literature (Non-fiction) for her memoir.

The Speaking Tigers edition of the book will be available in bookstores and online from June 5.


"Love the Dark Days headed to Indian bookstores"

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