2016 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist
"Set amid the raucous swirl of Bombay’s Kamathipura Red Light District, The Parcel is a searing indictment of the sex trafficking industry and a compassionate portrait of a troubled but resilient community.
In Madhu, the transgender, retired prostitute at the heart of the novel, Anosh Irani has created a powerful yet flawed character to steward the reader through difficult, often disturbing material. Her struggles — with her past, with the legacy she might leave behind — are rendered with honesty and grace. Harrowing, enraging, unexpectedly humorous, and also profoundly sad, The Parcel is a haunting work of fiction that illuminates the ways in which history, both political and personal, pervades the present day."
- 2016 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury Lauren B. Davis, Trevor Ferguson, and Pasha Malla
About the Book
The Parcel's astonishing heart, soul and unforgettable voice is Madhu – born a boy, but a eunuch by choice – who has spent most of her life in a close-knit clan of transgender sex workers in Kamathipura, the notorious red-light district of Bombay. Madhu identifies herself as a "hijra" – a person belonging to the third sex, neither here nor there, man nor woman. Now, at 40, she has moved away from prostitution, her trade since her teens, and is forced to beg to support the charismatic head of the hijra clan, Gurumai. One day Madhu receives a call from Padma Madam, the most feared brothel owner in the district: a "parcel" has arrived – a young girl from the provinces, betrayed and trafficked by her aunt – and Madhu must prepare it for its fate. Despite Madhu's reluctance, she is forced to take the job by Gurumai.
About the Author
Anosh Irani has previously published three novels: The Cripple and His Talismans; The Song of Kahunsha, which was a contender for CBC’s Canada Reads; and Dahanu Road, which was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Irani’s play Bombay Black won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and his anthology The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in Vancouver.