Title: The Night Diary
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Pages: 272 pages (Paperback)
P.O.V: 1st person
Genre: Historical – Fiction
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Random House (Dial Imprint)
It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.
Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.
The Night Diary is a tragic yet beautiful book that tells you the story of the Partition through the eyes of a 12 year old.
It is told in Nisha’s pov as diary entries written in the form of letters to her deceased mother.
The story begins at July 1947 just a month before independence from the British Raj, when Nisha receives a diary from Kazi, the family’s cook as her 12th birthday gift.
Quiet girl Nisha, starts filling it up regularly at night when everybody went to sleep. She starts adding even the most small events of her daily life, like what she did, where she went and what she cooked with Kazi. She in her dairy, also describes how the world around her has started to change as the date of Partition draws near.
Nisha’s father was a Hindu and her mother was a Muslim but now they were considered to be a Hindu family. And as the day drew near, the violent incidents increased against Hindus. It was no longer safe for Nisha and her twin brother Amil to walk to school. It was no longer safe to even stay at home. And At this point finally her father and grandmother decides that it’s time to leave. Leave the only place they have ever known as home. Leave Pakistan as a refugee to the New India that came to be.
The diary entries were innocent and heartbreaking. It was tragic to see how the very people who once lived in love and harmony could drastically be so hateful to each other. Above all the book explores the search for home and identity of an young girl in a world that has been divided into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
The character development of Nisha is fundamental to this book and it is very well done. The writing is easy and the descriptions are vivid to keep to engaged to the story.
My Rating: 4/5
“The Night Diary” is available in Hardcover, Paperback, and E-book.