Helium: A Novel
London ; New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013.
9th floor PS8637 .I53 H45 2013
Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)
On November 1st 1984, a day after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, a nineteen-year-old student travels back from a class trip to the northern regions of India with Professor Singh, his mentor, an expert on chemical elements and the man who introduced him to Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table. As the group disembark at Delhi station a mob surrounds the professor, throws a tyre over him, douses him in petrol and sets him alight.
Fusing documentary and fictional impulses, Helium deals with one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Indian nation: the massacre of the Sikh citizens organised, incited and enabled by the government. Jaspreet Singh has crafted an affecting and important story of memory, collective silences and personal trauma.