“Shambala Junction,” the latest novel by award-winning Indian American author Dipika Mukherjee, has won the Virginia Prize for Fiction. The novel, which recently launched in the United States, tackles the serious subject of international adoptions with both humor and insight.
Set in India, the story is about Iris, an American visiting India for the first time. Iris ends up stranded in a small town and becomes involved in a local stall-holder’s battle to recover a lost child – who is about to be sold to a rich Westerner.
“The book came from a point of rage,” Mukherjee explained to AsianCultureVulture.com. “I came across a story (about adopting babies from foreign countries) in a mailout or a newsletter, it was really quite low key but it was the tone of it – like if the children are having a better time, shopping for babies is okay.”
“This novel was the clear winner of the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2016 from over 100 entries from around the world. It’s surprising for a novel to have such a light touch when dealing with the serious subject of child-trafficking, and the author manages to entertain us with the plight of the central character, a wealthy but naïve Asian American, who finds herself in the middle of a crisis, when the poor family who ‘adopt’ her have trouble regaining possession of their own baby,” said publisher Cheryl Robson.
Dipika Mukherjee's debut novel “Thunder Demon” was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize then published as “Ode to Broken Things” by Repeater in 2016. Her short story collection, “Rules of Desire,” was a bestseller in Malaysia, and in 2014 she won the 2014 Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award for Literary Excellence.