The City of Good Death (Hardcover)
"A fascinating tale of creating a new life and what happens when your old life comes back to haunt you set in a death hostel in India."--Reviewed by Percy
"Priyanka Champaneri's beautiful debut novel The City of Good Death explores the intricacies of life, love, and death in the holy city of Kashi. Pramesh is the manager of a death hostel where families bring their loved ones to "die a good death." When his estranged cousin is found dead in the Ganges River and begins to haunt the hostel, Pramesh grapples with the complexities of his past and present lives. This powerful tale will transport you to another world."--Reviewed by Susan
Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing
Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Priyanka Champaneri's transcendent, prize-winning debut novel brings us inside India's holy city of Banaras, where the manager of a death hostel shepherds the dying who seek the release of a good death, while his own past refuses to let him go.
As the dutiful manager of a death hostel in Banaras on the banks of the Ganges, Pramesh Prasad administers to dying Hindu pilgrims who hope to be released from earthly reincarnation. He lives and works contentedly with his wife, Shobha, their young daughter, Rani, the hostel priests, his hapless but winning assistant Mohan, and the constant flow of families with their dying kin. But one day the past arrives in the form of a body pulled from the river-a man with an uncanny resemblance to Pramesh.
Called "twins" in their childhood village, he and his cousin Sagar are inseparable until Pramesh leaves to see the outside world and Sagar stays to tend the land. After Pramesh marries Shobha, defying his family's wishes, a rift opens between the cousins that he has willed himself to forget. Yet for Shobha, Sagar's reemergence casts a shadow over the life she's built for her family. Soon, an unwelcome guest takes up residence in the death hostel, the dying mysteriously continue to live, and Pramesh is forced to confront his own ideas about death, rebirth, and redemption.
Told in lush, vivid detail and with an unforgettable cast of characters, The City of Good Death is a remarkable debut novel of family and love, memory and ritual, and the ways in which we honor the living and the dead.