Over the hill in Brighton they have “The City Reads”. Now we have the “Downland Villages Read”. We will be holding a “meet the author” evening later this summer, as a fundraiser for local churches, but in the meantime we invite all villagers in Edburton, Fulking, Newtimber, Poynings and Pyecombe to read the book. Maybe if you are in a book group you could choose it as your next read. Belonging by Umi Sinha has been chosen for this inaugural event. It is partly set in a small Sussex village in a fold of the South Downs and I am sure that you will all recognise the locations it describes in Sussex. This fascinating book tells the interwoven story of three generations, from the time of the British Raj to the aftermath of the First World War, and their struggles to understand and free themselves from a troubled history steeped in colonial violence. This is a novel of secrets that unwind through Lila Langdon’s story of exile to England, through her grandmother Cecily’s letters home from India, and through the diaries kept by her father, Henry, as he puzzles over the enigma of his birth and his stormy marriage to the mysterious Rebecca. Umi was born in India and moved to England when she was fifteen and manages to bring the settings both in India and Sussex alive.
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Stephanie Anderson, Communications Officer, Downlands Benefice