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 paramic, with a thrilling ambition that places it alongside such masterpieces as A SUITABLE BOY and A FINE BALANCE.
Aatish Taseer was born in 1980. He is the author of Stranger to History: a Son's Journey through Islamic Lands (2009), The Temple-Goers (2010), which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, and Noon (2011). He lives between London and Delhi.