Balli Kaur Jaswal is the author of Inheritance (2013, 2016), a universal story of family, identity and belonging, and Sugarbread (2016), a story about fitting in and confronting the past (and a finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize), both dealing with the Punjabi Sikh community in Singapore. Born in Singapore and raised in Japan, Russia and the Philippines, she studied creative writing in the United States. She has received writing fellowships from the University of East Anglia and Nanyang Technological University, and was named Best Young Australian Novelist of 2014 by the Sydney Morning Herald. Her third novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, a dark comedy set in a Punjabi immigrant enclave in London, will be released by HarperCollins UK and William Morrow in 2017.
Inheritance is a nation’s coming-of-age story, seen through the sharp lens of a traditional Punjabi family as it gradually unravels.
Set in Singapore between the 1970’s and 1990’s, Inheritance follows the familial fissures that develop after teenaged Amrit disappears in the middle of the night. Although her absence is brief, she returns as a different person.
Over two decades, as Singapore’s political, social and cultural landscapes change, the family’s attempts to cope with the shifts—those coming from outside and from within—lead to some disastrous consequences. With the traditional expectations of their country on the one hand, and their own volition on the other, Amrit’s family must avoid imploding. How do we confront our legacies, and, when necessary, how do we accept change? Inheritance is a universal story of family, identity and belonging.