A deeply moving story about family survival and relentless hope
NEW DELHI, Oct. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — HarperCollins is proud to announce the publication of Homebound by Puja Changoiwala, releasing on 12th November, 2021.
“Homebound will sear your conscience and make you marvel at the grit and courage of the countless migrants who faced the longest of walks home after the COVID-19 lockdown was announced. Puja Changoiwala’s fiction has the steel ring of truth-telling; she gives her young heroine, Meher Balhaari, a voice and dignity even as Meher and her family face police violence, hunger and hardship on the 900-kilometre walk from the slums of Dharavi to their village in Rajasthan. A powerful, accessible, heart-wrenching novel by one of India’s most dedicated journalists.”—Nilanjana Roy
“A poignant letter to our dystopian present. An elegy for the faceless and the nameless. Homebound is a striking document of our times, a tour de force.”—Hansal Mehta
“Homebound is a story of courage and grit, told with amazing simplicity and power. A compelling reminder of what millions went through during those desperate months, when we were all being tested by fate.”—Pritish Nandy
On her forthcoming publication, Puja Changoiwala, says, “As millions of migrant workers fled the cities they built, trudging hundreds of kilometres to their rural homes after India announced the COVID-19 lockdown last year, I began to believe that their exodus belonged to history, with the great journeys triggered by wars, conflicts and natural calamities.
As a journalist, who has reported on India’s informal economy and the workers who pillar it, I knew that the migrants’ plight was to be blamed on the systemic, structural decay that has spanned decades. Exploited and abused since time immemorial, their mass departure had lent them sudden visibility in the national discourse, and now that their obscurity was beginning to dissolve, I wanted to seal their cold realities in ink, ensure that we never drown them into oblivion again. This book, thus, is my attempt at documenting their story. To forget them again would be treason.”
Prerna Gill, Commissioning Editor, Literary, HarperCollins India, says, “Homebound is a book that will hold your heart as you read it. After months of research and interviews, Puja Changoiwala tells a story of injustice and determination, while her protagonist brings it to life—with fury and compassion.”
About the book
A Family. A Lockdown. A Journey.
For young Meher, living in Dharavi meant a life full of possibilities. Things were going well until the Indian government announced the world’s biggest coronavirus lockdown. Soon, her parents are left jobless and stand to lose all—their home and their lives.
As COVID-19 cases in the Mumbai slum soar, Meher and her family realize they have no choice but to leave for their village in Rajasthan. With the ban on public movement, it becomes clear that they would have to walk the 900 kilometres, facing barbaric police officers, searing heat, wild beasts and indifferent deities.
A deeply moving story about family, survival and relentless hope, Homebound brings to the page the stark realities of those who have remained too long without a voice.
About the author
Puja Changoiwala is an award-winning journalist and author of two non-fiction books — Gangster on the Run and The Front Page Murders. Her work has been featured across news networks, publications and more, including BBC, CNN, The Hindu, the Guardian, National Geographic and Al Jazeera.
Previously a senior correspondent with Hindustan Times, Puja is a recipient of the International Centre for Journalists’ Covid-19 Reporting Award, the Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity, Red Ink Award for Excellence in Indian Journalism and the Iceland Writers Award among others.
About HarperCollins Publishers India
HarperCollins Publishers India is a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers. HarperCollins India publishes some of the finest writers from the Indian Subcontinent and around the world, publishing approximately 200 new books every year, with a print and digital catalogue of more than 2,000 titles across 10 imprints. Its authors have won almost every major literary award including the Man Booker Prize, JCB Prize, DSC Prize, New India Foundation Award, Atta Galatta Prize, Shakti Bhatt Prize, Gourmand Cookbook Award, Publishing Next Award, Tata Literature Live Award, Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, BICW Award, Sushila Devi Award, Prabha Khaitan Woman’s Voice Award, Sahitya Akademi Award and the Crossword Book Award. HarperCollins India has been awarded the Publisher of the Year Award three times: at Publishing Next in 2015, and at Tata Literature Live! in 2016 and 2018.HarperCollins India also represents some of the finest publishers in the world including Egmont, Oneworld, Harvard University Press, Bonnier Zaffre, Usborne, Dover and Lonely Planet.