Bitter Wormwood


Author: Easterine Kire

9789381017029 | PB | pp. 269 | 2011 | Zubaan

Bitter Wormwood is a novel by Easterine Kire, set during the Naga struggle for independence, that explores the themes of trauma, war, and freedom.

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Kohima, 2007. A young man has just been gunned down in cold blood—the latest casualty in the conflict that has brutalized the people of Nagaland, in the neglected northeastern corner of India. Rich in culture and history, Bitter Wormwood traces the story of one man’s life from 1937 until 2007, offering poignant insight into the human cost behind the political headlines of one of India’s most beautiful regions.

A gripping story that brings to life the processes that propel social change and transform communities, Easterine Kire skillfully renders the small incidents of Mose’s childhood, his family, and the routines and rituals of traditional village life, painting an evocative picture of a peaceful way of life, now long-vanished. The coming of radio into Mose’s family house marks the beginning of the changes that will connect them to the wider world. They learn of partition, independence, a land called America. Mose and his friends become involved in the Naga struggle for independence, and are caught in a maelstrom of violence that ends up ripping communities apart.


Easterine Kire







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About the Author

The author is an award-winning Indian poet, novelist, and writer of children’s books. Her first novel A Naga Village Remembered (reissued as Sky Is My Father) was the first Naga novel to be published in English. Her other novels include Son of the Thundercloud (winner of the Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2018 and the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award 2017), Bitter Wormwood (shortlisted for the Hindu Prize 2013), When the River Sleeps (winner of the Hindu Prize 2015) and Don’t Run, My Love (2017). Her work has been translated into German, Croatian, Uzbek, Norwegian and Nepali. In 2011 she was awarded the governor’s medal for excellence in Naga literature.


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