In A Little Distillery in Nowgong by Ashok Mathur (Arsenal Pulp Press), an ordinary Parsi family takes a multi-generational, multi-continental journey (which may or may not be predestined) that starts when a young boy begins talking (in his head at least) to a disembodied voice that claims to be his yet-to-be-born grandchild. The story carries on, twisting and turning in unpredictable ways, from India to England to Canada and then, perhaps, back to England.
Once you start reading, you’ll have to go along for the full ride, a ride that includes the best rum in India, seduction (more than once) by a plate of mango slices, emigration halfway across the world, serious talks by shocked school principals, bullying by the spirit of a dead mother, a liberating haircut and a fateful airplane flight all deployed so that the disembodied voice can find someone to love.
Meanwhile the world goes through a war, India is partitioned and the streets and hospitals of Delhi are filled with rioters, rock ’n’ roll hits the airwaves and television worms its way into every living room. What’s an ordinary Parsi family to do as their children embrace new ways? Watch, adapt and carry on.