Witness the Night

Desai, Kishwar

  12 Reviews

What really happened that night? Found alive in the smouldering ruins of her family home, a young teenager is the sole survivor. Accused of mass-murder, she is championed by a spirited and unconventional social worker.

Set in the Punjab, this is a complex whodunnit revealing the prejudice and misfortune that epitomises the fate of being female in a tradition entrenched society. [Larger font]

Winner of the 2010 Costa First Novel Award.

Comments from Groups

Great book that really got us all thinking about the lives of Indian women. Hamilton 022

Most of us found the book interesting, some of us really enjoyed it, we felt it was very well written. Wanaka 013

Excellent book, thought-provoking. Unnerving to think this still happens today in parts of India. Auckland 256

A disturbing, and at times, harrowing depiction of life in India, particularly for women. Napier 023

We generally didn't enjoy this book. Interesting subject and potentially good exploration of a very real and horrifying issue in India but author seemed confused between racy fiction and band-wagon non-fiction. Ohoka 002



Quite a complex book for a first time writer but very well done. Most thought it quite grim and depressing but it led to discussions on the treatment of women in other cultures - very thought provoking and sad that some of these customs are still happening. We felt a glossary would have been helpful.
This book was not enjoyed by our group. Events/characters were not very easy to follow, or to understand.
CHCH 361
A powerful message, and a great and sometimes disturbing read.
AUCK 272
Quite a good book. Interesting expose of the institutionalised sexism of the Indian culture. Possibly could have been better written, to be less confusing. Made for a good discussion.
Not a hugely popular book with our group. Over half did not finish and those who did thought it was ok. A disturbing overarching topic in a sort of murder mystery was the general consensus. We felt that the author was so focused on the topic of female infanticide that the writing of the story fell to the wayside.
RICH 010
We considered this a very courageous book as we were all very drawn into the plot and aghast at the ending. Investigating these culturally embedded horrors is not without its risks. We are all affected when the law v. culture divide is exposed. A very challenging and well-written book explaining these murky levels of the human psyche and culture.
GORE 005
The group enjoyed this book. Particularly interesting that the author's comments say that this is a fair representation of the corruption in this country.
HAVE 016
Was it fiction or non-fiction Very factual re treatment of women which was quite distressing, but that aside, an intriguing murder mystery.
FERN 001
Gruesome and brutal, not a happy read but a story that needed to be told. Not well constructed, but generated lots of interesting discussion.
CHCH 395
A good book for discussion purposes. As usual, a variety of opinions on the merits of the book itself.
Divided the group. Quite a few didn't read it.
NEWP 012
Most enjoyed the book, although some struggled to 'get into it'.