October 2021

China Room

by Sunjeev Sahota

book cover

Why We Chose It

Brilliant. Surprising. Deeply imaginative. China Room weaves together two narratives: In the summer of 1999, a young man leaves England for his uncle’s house in Punjab, where he’s hoping to grit his way through an addiction. But he ends up in a place with more history, the home where his great-grandmother Mehar came seventy years earlier as a young woman, wed to an unknown husband. It’s here, decades apart, that Mehar and her great-grandson discover and set about getting what they desire, with dangerous and beautiful consequences. We were transfixed.

Read an excerpt now and pick up a copy from your local bookstore or find more retailers here.

China Room

Bookshop, $25



Author Sunjeev Sahota chats with goop editor Kiki Koroshetz.

About the Author

Sunjeev Sahota is the author of Ours Are the Streets and The Year of the Runaways, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize and was awarded a European Union Prize for Literature. In 2013, he was named one of Granta’s twenty Best of Young British Novelists of the decade. He lives in Sheffield, England, with his family.

Author photo

A Q&A with Sunjeev Sahota

How did the idea for China Room come to you?

It started with a piece of family lore: that a great-grandmother of mine was one of four brides married to four brothers in a single ceremony and none knew which was her husband. It took years to discover how to turn this tantalizing premise into a novel.

What are some split-narrative books you love?

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington, Rachel Seiffert’s The Dark Room. Does Pale Fire count?

When is the last time you were in Punjab—and what do you most enjoy when you’re there?

I was last there in April 2016 for a wedding. I love being around my gregarious family, bringing my Punjabi back on track, and vanishing into the background.

Who is the first person to read your writing?

My wife.

Your favorite story to teach?

At the moment, Leonora Carrington’s “The Debutante.”

Tell us what a typical Sunday looks like for you.

It’ll start with taking the kids climbing and go on from there.

What are you reading now?

Second Place by Rachel Cusk.



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