Released on 12 February 2015.

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The Way Things Were

3.65 based on 248 ratings & 41 reviews on


Skanda's father, Toby, has died, estranged from Toby's mother and from the India he loved. Skanda is tasked with fulfilling Toby's final wish and returning his ashes to his birthplace. It is a journey that takes him from Manhattan to Delhi, and deep into the story of his family: in particular, to a night three decades earlier, when an act of shocking violence forced his parents' fragile marriage apart.
Set at flashpoints in 1975, 1984, 1992 and the present day, THE WAY THINGS WERE shows how our most deeply personal stories are shaped by ancient history and volatile politics; how the life of a country and the life of an individual are irrevocably entwined. Spanning three generations, it is at once intimate and panoramic, with a thrilling ambition that places it alongside such masterpieces as A SUITABLE BOY and A FINE BALANCE.

In the media

The Ways Things Were shows [Taseer] to be both an accomplished novelist and commentator. In delving beneath the surface, he has vividly exposed the quarrels and quandaries of an India undergoing rapid historical and social change.
An ambitious state-of-the-nation novel about the role of history in a contested present . . . Taseer . . . sensitively undercuts the seductions of nostalgia.
Sunday Times
This is the sort of novel that gathers intelligence and power through repetition, incantation, and time. As the pages build . . . these characters grow into two of the most memorable creations in Indian fiction. These scenes have an aching power that Taseer amplifies with his exquisite, booming prose . . . as if Taseer has taken Naipaul and titrated him with Proust . . . He has written the best Indian novel of the last decade.
Los Angeles Review of Books