Anyone who lives in Kumaon for a while falls in love with the region — And anyone in love with Kumaon would fall in love with Namita Gokhale’s new novel, Things to Leave Behind.
Keki Daruwalla, Huffington Post, 19th December, 2016
A rich, panoramic historical novel shows you Kumaon and the Raj as you have never seen them.
It is 1856, in picturesque Kumaon. History has already begun its steady march. Six native women clad in black and scarlet pichauras huddle around Naineetal Lake, attempting to cleanse it of threatening new influences. For, these are the days of Upper Mall Road (for Europeans and their horses) and Lower Mall Road (‘for dogs, servants and other Indians’). And this is the story of feisty young Tilottama Dutt, whose uncle hangs when he protests the reigning order—and her daughter, Deoki, who will confront change as Indians and as women.
Things to Leave Behind brings alive the romance of the mixed legacy of British-Indian past. Full of the fascinating backstory of Naineetal and its unwilling entry into Indian history, throwing a shining light on the elemental confusion of caste, creed and culture, illuminated with painstaking detail, here is a fascinating historical epic and Namita Gokhale’s most ambitious novel yet.
1. Even more than the plot line, it is the life lived in Kumaon that is vividly placed before us in this memorable novel: the Upper Mall reserved for the British, while Indians and dogs traversed the Lower Mall road;
Huffington Post, 19th December, 2016
2. The art of interpreting India is a difficult exercise in reconstruction. It requires chutzpah, imagination and leaps of faith taken in the ordinary pursuit of the extraordinary.Namita Gokhale exhibits them all in Things We Leave Behind—a complex weft of narrative light and shadow that dapples the tree-lined, stream shot landscape of the Kumaon of British India.
New Indian Express, 10th December 2016
3. The warp of nature runs against the weft of history to produce a tautly woven tapestry that is as finely detailed as it is richly coloured making Things to Leave Behind a rather intricate novel.
Scroll.in, 17th December 2016