An extraordinarily rich debut novel, set in India in 1947 at the time of Partition. Although the backdrop is this key event in Indian history, the novel is even more far-reaching, touching on the importance of tolerance, love and family.
The main character is Bilal, a boy determined to protect his dying father from the news of Partition - news that he knows will break his father's heart. With great spirit and determination, and with the help of his good friends, Bilal persuades others to collude with him in this deception, even printing false pages of the local newspaper to hide the ravages of unrest from his father. All that Bilal wants is for his father to die in peace. But that means Bilal has a very complicated relationship with the truth...
About The Author
Irfan Master is project manager of Reading the Game at the National Literacy Trust in the UK. His family is from Gujarat, India where his debut novel is set.
A Beautiful Lie is a story of a boy and the love he has
for his father, at a time in India when everything was changing. It's a
story about the lengths a courageous boy is willing to go to in order
to make sure his father dies happy regardless of the consequences for
These are the words of author Irfan Master in his interview with Booktopia which can be found HERE. India was changing, the British had gone, independence had come and the subcontinent was torn in two with the birth of Pakistan and India.
I wanted to write this story because it was a terrible time and those that lived through the worst of it understandably are reluctant to revisit it. But, it did happen, and it affected millions of ordinary people, the effects of which are still felt today.
With a parent from both countries, Master draws on his own experiences to bring this wonderful book together.
I was very curious about what this cultural difference really meant when I was a teenager and found it especially odd because they [Pakistan and India] used to be one country. I researched the Indian partition and discovered it was a brutal and painful time in their shared history. It was the sundering of an ancient culture with a line drawn through a map which divided it into two.
As I got older, I began to think about writing something about partition specifically aimed at educating younger people. I started asking younger people what they knew about partition and discovered that some hadn't even heard of it. Those that did had a very vague knowledge base. I also discovered that partition wasn't talked about among the adult community. So when writing A Beautiful Lie I wanted to address the Indian partition period in a story that would really connect with people and that's what I set out to do, and in a slightly ambitious way I tried to tie it all together.
(From an interview with the National Literacy Trust)
For decades, THE book on partition has been Salman Rushdie's superb Midnight's Children. As good as it is however, it is definitely not a book most teens would get into. A Beautiful Lie is. Great stuff indeed - all with the added bonus of no vampires, werewolves, angels, changelings, zombies, undead, werecats, faeries etc.
'Another memorable debut novel ... Beautifully told this debut is set in 1940's India at the time of the Partition, with themes of tolerance that still resonate today' The Bookseller 'A challenging but extremely rewarding book dealing with big themes of truth, prejudice, and friendship, but also the simple love of a boy for his father. The Indian setting conjures up a society on the brink of change, rich in period detail and geographical beauty, and the characters are attractive and vividly drawn. A fascinating introduction to a vital moment in history. Though beware - the ending will make you cry' Daily Mail 'This is a refreshing first novel, simply and expertly told. A great debut' Ink Pellet 'Irfan Master has created a richly detailed portrait of India in 1947 and peopled it with a collection of well realised characters, each of them almost strong enough to merit a novel in their own right' Guardian
For Ages: 12 - 18 years old
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 4th January 2011
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 3.7
Weight (kg): 0.214