The East Indian
Meet Tony—compassionate, insatiably curious, with a unique perspective on every scene he encounters. Kidnapped and transported to the New World after traveling from the Coromandel Coast of India to the teeming streets of London, young Tony finds himself indentured on a Virginia tobacco plantation. Orphaned and afraid, Tony longs for home, and envisions a life after servitude full of adventure and learning.
Like the play that captivates him—Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Tony saw at the Globe during his short time in London—Tony’s life is rich with oddities and hijinks, humor and tragedy. Set largely during the early days of English colonization in Jamestown, The East Indian gives an authentic voice to an otherwise unknown historic figure and brings his world to vivid life.
"Brilliant, Highly-Imaginative And Vivid"
“History comes alive in this brilliant, highly-imaginative and vivid novel. Immersive and revelatory–a stellar achievement.”
— E.C. Osondo
Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing
Author of This House Is Not For Sale
“Tony, the “East Indian” of the title of Brinda Charry’s utterly enjoyable debut novel, reads like a character straight out of Dickens.
Based on an actual historical figure, the first person from India documented in the records of Colonial Virginia, Tony ventures into the entangled richness of a nascent America—a place he calls, “this precarious edge of the world.” It is peopled by “servants”—both white and black, female and male—who find themselves as bound to the New World as they are to the Englishmen who rule it. Picaresque in style, lyrical of voice, gripping and authentic, The East Indian is a real treat.”
— David Wright Falade
Author of Black Cloud Rising