The Tiniest House of Time (Sreedhevi Iyer, Wild Dingo)
The Tiniest House of Time is the well-researched debut novel by Sreedhevi Iyer, an Indian-Malaysian-Australian author. Matriarch Susheela Sastri is dying. Her granddaughter, Sandhya, born on the same date as her, travels from Australia to Malaysia to be with her. There, Sandhya comes to terms with what she’s been avoiding, while Susheela, slipping in and out of consciousness, is transported back to memories of her younger years in Burma/Myanmar. Surrounded by extended family, Sandhya and Susheela reconnect with each other. The plot moves between four different eras, within two nations undergoing significant social and political change. As an Indian child growing up in 1930s Burma, Susheela witnesses upheaval when the Burmese reject British interference and turn on Indian workers and Muslim citizens. Later, during Japanese occupation in WWII, Susheela joins the Hindu exodus into India. In the 1990s, Sandhya comes of age in Malaysia and becomes involved in political rallies. Like her grandmother, Sandhya is aware of ongoing conflict between Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims. Back in the present, Susheela and Sandhya recommit to combatting prejudice in their own ways. While some may find the plot difficult to keep track of, The Tiniest House of Time will appeal to readers interested in family sagas, Indian diaspora, and Myanmar and Malaysian sociopolitical histories.
Karen Wyld is a freelance writer, consultant and author