The Book of Everlasting Things: A Novel (Paperback)
FOR FANS OF ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, A LUSH, SWEEPING LOVE STORY ABOUT A HINDU PERFUMER AND A MUSLIM CALLIGRAPHER, SET AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF PARTITION
“Monumental…A far-reaching love story.” —NPR (A Best Book of the Year)
“Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Exquisite.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Majestic.” —Booklist (starred review)
On a January morning in 1938, Samir Vij first locks eyes with Firdaus Khan through the rows of perfume bottles in his family’s ittar shop in Lahore. Over the years that follow, the perfumer’s apprentice and calligrapher’s apprentice fall in love with their ancient crafts and with each other, dreaming of the life they will one day share. But as the struggle for Indian independence gathers force, their beloved city is ravaged by Partition. Suddenly, they find themselves on opposite sides: Samir, a Hindu, becomes Indian and Firdaus, a Muslim, becomes Pakistani, their love now forbidden. Severed from one another, Samir and Firdaus make a series of fateful decisions that will change the course of their lives forever. As their paths spiral away from each other, they must each decide how much of the past they are willing to let go, and what it will cost them.
Lush, sensuous, and deeply romantic, The Book of Everlasting Things is the story of two lovers and two nations, split apart by forces beyond their control, yet bound by love and memory. Filled with exquisite descriptions of perfume and calligraphy, spanning continents and generations, Aanchal Malhotra’s debut novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
About the Author
Aanchal Malhotra is a writer and oral historian from New Delhi, India. A co-founder of the Museum of Material Memory, Malhotra has written two nonfiction books on the human history and generational impact of the 1947 Partition, titled Remnants of Partition and In the Language of Remembering. The Book of Everlasting Things is her debut novel.
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A Best Book of the Month (ABC News, GMA.com, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Ms. Magazine, BookRiot, PopSugar, The A.V. Club)
“Monumental…A far-reaching love story…Malhotra’s detailed world-building gives the narrative sensory layers and textured depths. Moving from the early 1900s to the present day, she explores how Partition continues to be a living, breathing catastrophe and how the violence and trauma have been inherited by later generations, no matter where they live now.”
“A modern-day Romeo and Juliet. A man and woman in love end up on opposite sides of the Indian and Pakistan split in this tale of countries and countrymen—and the lengths we'll all go for love.”
“Malhotra’s poetic tale of remembrance blends artistry and history to honor the inspiration of love.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“A Hindu perfumer and a Muslim calligrapher fall in love, both with each other and with their ancient crafts, against a backdrop of Indian Partition in this ravishing historical romance.”
“Masterful…Detailed, opulent…The Book of Everlasting Things is a novel about remembrance and memory as much as it is about Partition…By focusing on just one family, and one person’s experience of Partition, we get an understanding of what the official recounts or academic monographs don’t always capture in the same way: the deeply human cost of both living through Partition and moving on from it.”
—Chicago Review of Books
“Gorgeous and evocative. The novel shines in its sensory details, particularly in regard to smells, showing how perfumers take in the world. It’s also strong in its sense of place...This is a long, meaty story with an old-fashioned pace. It’s a novel to sink into as Malhotra spins a bitter-sweet family saga of love, loss and connection.”
“Award-winning historian Aanchal Malhotra turns her expertise on Partition (she’s penned two books on it) into moving historical fiction in her debut novel…A star-crossed love story.”
—The A.V. Club
“[A] beautiful love story.”
“Mesmerizing…At the heart of Malhotra’s sweeping debut novel is an indelible love story…A transcendent study of the blurring of personal and political, as ordinary people deal with catastrophic historical events.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A long and luxurious tale of love, loss, memory, and place, told against a backdrop of tumultuous historical events…It will be difficult indeed to forget this exquisite story.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“A majestic, evocative exploration of the persistence of memory and the human connections that transcend even death.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Malhotra’s prose is sensuous and rich, and the ease with which she conjures a world that no longer exists is impressive…The novel is, above all else, a meditation on memory, the preservation of intimate history, loss, and love…A quiet and moving portrait of eternal love and remembrance.”
"At once sweeping and intimate. With gorgeous prose and careful research, Malhotra brings to life a world rich with Indian perfumery, Urdu calligraphy, and a romance that defies time and space. A stunning book that reminds you of what it is to fall in love."
—Jenny Tinghui Zhang, author of Four Treasures of the Sky
"Spanning generations and continents, Malhotra’s debut is both thought-provoking and deliciously romantic. The Book of Everlasting Things will awaken your senses and leave you captivated until the last page."
—Lara Prescott, New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets We Kept
“Magical, illuminating, and thought-provoking! There is true love, longing, loss, and healing inside The Book of Everlasting Things. Malhotra writes with the power of a novelist who is the master of her craft.”
—Nguyen Phan Que Mai, internationally bestselling author of The Mountains Sing
“The Book of Everlasting Things is a novel to be savored for its details, for the texture of lived life in Lahore before partition, for its evocations of characters and their artistic sensibilities. This is a mesmerizing recreation of a lost world.”
—Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs
"Spellbinding and lyrical, as richly layered as the scents that connect us to our deepest memories, The Book of Everlasting Things is a story about division, loss, and the love that transcends the boundaries of lifetimes. A magical read."
—Jennifer Rosner, award-winning author of The Yellow Bird Sings and Once We Were Home
“A stunning debut novel. The Book of Everlasting Things is a powerful story of what we choose to remember and forget, of how history shapes us, and the endurance of love. It is a book that will touch your heart and overwhelm your senses, and stay with you long after you have read it.”
—Kavita Puri, author of Partition Voices
“Tender, compassionate, extravagantly inventive. A family epic that tells the spiritual biography of a nation. The research that went into this novel is visible on every page, and I am full of admiration for its attentiveness to the infinite minutiae of love.”
—Jeet Thayil, author of Narcopolis and The Book of Chocolate Saints
“An immersive delight, The Book of Everlasting Things enlivens history and the senses equally. Utterly transporting, it evokes with charm and precision a bygone era, bursting from these pages with restored beauty. The book traverses more than a century with astonishing grace. Malhotra has proven herself a detail driven researcher and empathetic historian, but this, her gorgeous, cinematic debut novel, stamps her place as a sublime storyteller.”
—Karuna Ezara Parikh, author of The Heart Asks Pleasure First