February 2002. A helpless nation watches as the city of Ahmedabad in India is rocked by religious violence. Before sunrise the next day, more than a hundred Muslim men, women and children will be killed, most of them burnt alive. Above the smoke and flames, the dead decide to intervene. So begins Fireproof, Raj Kamal Jha's mesmerizing new novel, in which the murdered whisper from footnotes and photographs. At the heart of the novel is its narrator Jay - a man who carries with him an unspeakable secret and a newborn baby - and a mystery woman, who writes with her fingers on glass, drawing man and child out of their home and on a journey across the burning city. From the author of The Blue Bedspread and If You Are Afraid of Heights, comes a work of fiction that challenges the way we look at the most twisted events of our times. Evoking both terror and tenderness, Fireproof is a compelling testimony to the ordinary nature of collective evil, and to the extraordinary power of individual conscience.
Raj Kamal Jha is the author of The Blue Bedspread (1999), which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Eurasia) and If You Are Afraid of Heights (2003). Jha lives in New Delhi where he is executive editor of the Indian Express newspaper. His fiction has been published in over ten languages. This is his third novel.