Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? by Anita Rau Badami
Finalist for The Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2006
Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? tells the stories of three women, linked in love and tragedy, over a span of fifty years, sweeping from the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 to the explosion of Air India flight 182 off the coast of Ireland in 1985. There is Bibi-ji – who steals the heart of her sister’s fiancé and returns with him to Vancouver, where they become pillars of the Sikh community – who is haunted by the subsequent disappearance of her sister during the violence of Partition; her neighbour Leela – trying to get on with the business of living in this new world of opportunity – who feels herself always a “half and half,” a newcomer struggling to find her way in the colourful “desi” community of Vancouver; and Nimmo, orphaned by the devastation that engulfed India after Partition, who tries to rebuild her life in Delhi. But for all three, the conflicts of the past re-emerge with shattering results.
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