From one of Canada’s brightest literary stars – a startling and beautiful novel about abandonment, poverty, and violence, as well as loyalty, love, and hope, as seen through the eyes of a young homeless boy.
It is 1993 and Bombay is on the verge of being torn apart by racial violence. Ten-year-old Chamdi has rarely ventured outside his orphanage, and entertains an idyllic fantasy of what the city is like beyond its garden walls – a paradise he calls Kahunsha, “the city of no sadness.” But when he runs away to search for his long-lost father, he finds himself thrust into the chaos of the streets, alone, possessing only the blood-stained cloth he was left in as a baby. There Chamdi meets Sumdi and Guddi, brother and sister who beg in order to provide for their sick mother, and the three become fast friends.
Fueled only by a desire to find his father and the dream that Bombay will someday become Kahunsha, Chamdi struggles for survival on its brutal streets. But when he is caught up in the beginnings of the savage violence that will soon engulf the city, his dreams confront reality.
Moving, poignant, and wonderfully rich in the sights and sounds of Bombay, The Song of Kahunsha is a compelling story of hopes and dreams, and of the fragility of childhood innocence.
ANOSH IRANI has published four critically acclaimed and award-winning novels: The Cripple and His Talismans (2004), a national bestseller; The Song of Kahunsha(2006), which was an international bestseller and shortlisted for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; Dahanu Road (2010), which was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and The Parcel (2016), which was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His play Bombay Black won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (2006), and his anthology The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black(2006) and his play Men in White were both shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama. He lives in Vancouver.
"With understated skill, Anosh Irani tells such a darkly enchanting story of the abandoned children of Bombay that I felt swept away by their fate and entangled in the world's too believable cruelty towards the innocent. Irani's shocking tale unfolds with a macabre and terrifying beauty that is both heartbreaking and compelling."
–Wayson Choy, author of All That Matters
"[Irani] vindicates the fragile but triumphant scope of childhood imagination with touching grace."
—The Globe and Mail
"[Irani] rewrites Dickens’ Oliver Twist with his native Bombay replacing 19th century London. . . . Pure storytelling."
"Irani has written a gripping and compassionate novel that will resonate long after readers have completed it."
—Winnipeg Free Press