Authors Mathangi Subramanian & Maura Finkelstein in Conversation; Wed. 3/4 at 7 PM


March 4, 2020 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Photos of Maura Finkelstein and Mathangi Subramanian and the book covers described below and the date/time of the event as described below

Please join us on Wednesday, March 4th at 7 PM as we welcome authors Mathangi Subramanian and Maura Finkelstein in conversation about Subramanian's new novel, A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF HEAVEN (on the 2020 Pen Faulkner Award Long List), and Finkelstein's new non-fiction book, THE ARCHIVE OF LOSS: LIVELY RUINATION IN MILL LAND MUMBAI. (Order A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF HEAVEN at and THE ARCHIVE OF LOSS at


Selected for the 2020 Pen Faulkner Award Long List as one of the ten most significant books published in 2019!

"The language [takes] on a musicality that is in sharp contrast to the bleak setting . . . refreshing . . . a strong debut."
—New York Times Book Review

In the tight-knit community known as Heaven, a ramshackle slum hidden between luxury high-rises in Bangalore, India, five girls on the cusp of womanhood forge an unbreakable bond. Muslim, Christian, and Hindu; queer and straight; they are full of life, and they love and accept one another unconditionally. Whatever they have, they share. Marginalized women, they are determined to transcend their surroundings.

When the local government threatens to demolish their tin shacks in order to build a shopping mall, the girls and their mothers refuse to be erased. Together they wage war on the bulldozers sent to bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that wishes that families like them would remain hidden forever.

Elegant, poetic, and vibrant, A People’s History of Heaven takes a clear-eyed look at adversity and geography--and dazzles in its depiction of these women’s fierceness and determination not just to survive, but to triumph.

About Mathangi Subramanian

Mathangi Subramanian is an award winning Indian American writer based in San Jose. Her novel A People's History of Heaven was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Award and named a Skipping Stones Honor Book. Her middle grades book Dear Mrs. Naidu won the South Asia Book Award and was shortlisted for the Hindu-Goodbooks prize. Her essays and op-eds have appeared in The Washington Post, Al Jazeera America, Ms. Magazine, and Zora Magazine, among others. A former Fulbright Scholar, public school teacher, and senior policy analyst at the New York City Council, she holds a doctorate in communication and education from Columbia University Teachers College. She is currently working on a memoir about miscarriage, adoption, race, and immigration.  




Mumbai's textile industry is commonly but incorrectly understood to be an extinct relic of the past. In The Archive of Loss Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers--who are assumed not to exist--to live and work during a period of deindustrialization. Finkelstein shows how mills are ethnographic archives of the city where documents, artifacts, and stories exist in the buildings and in the bodies of workers. Workers' pain, illnesses, injuries, and exhaustion narrate industrial decline; the ways in which they live in tenements exist outside and resist the values expounded by modernity; and the rumors and untruths they share about textile worker strikes and a mill fire help them make sense of the industry's survival. In outlining this archive's contents, Finkelstein shows how mills, which she conceptualizes as lively ruins, become a lens through which to challenge, reimagine, and alter ways of thinking about the past, present, and future in Mumbai and beyond.

About Maura Finkelstein

Maura Finkelstein is a cultural anthropologist and writer who teaches at Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Her first book, The Archive of Loss: Lively Ruination in Mill Land Mumbai was published by Duke University Press in April 2019. Her work has also been published in City and Society, Anthropological Quarterly and Cultural Anthropology, as well as two edited volumes, Galleries of Life: The Chawls of Mumbai (Imprint One, 2011) and the forthcoming Bombay Brokers (Due University Press). Her India-based research has been supported by fellowships from the American Institute for Indian Studies. She holds a MA in anthropology from Columbia University and a PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University. She is currently working on two books: an ethnography about therapeutic horseback riding, disability, and interspecies communication and a memoir about memory, trauma and reality television.  



Staff Pick Badge
A People's History of Heaven Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643750422
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - January 14th, 2020

The Archive of Loss: Lively Ruination in Mill Land Mumbai Cover Image
ISBN: 9781478003984
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Duke University Press - April 26th, 2019


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