Introducing an eloquent, sensual new Canadian voice that rings out in a first novel that is exquisitely rich and stunningly original. Roop is a sixteen-year-old village girl in the Punjab region of undivided India in 1937 whose family is respectable but poor -- her father is deep in debt and her mother is dead. Innocent and lovely, yet afraid she may not marry well, she is elated when she learns she is to become the second wife of a wealthy Sikh landowner, Sardarji, whose first wife, Satya, has failed to bear him any children. Roop trusts that the strong-willed Satya will treat her as a sister, but their relationship becomes far more ominous and complicated than expected. Roop's tale draws the reader immediately into her world, making the exotic familiar and the family's story startlingly universal, butWhat the Body Remembersis also very much Satya's story. She is mortified and angry when Sardarji takes Roop for a wife, a woman whose low status Satya takes as an affront to her position, and she adopts desperate measures to maintain her place in society and in her husband's heart. Yet it is also Sardarji's story, as the India he knows and understands -- the temples, cities, villages and countryside, all so vividly evoked -- begins to change. The escalating tensions in his personal life reflect those between Hindu and Muslim that lead to the cleaving of India and trap the Sikhs in a horrifying middle ground. Deeply imbued with the languages, customs and layered history of colonial India,What the Body Remembersis an absolute triumph of storytelling. Never before has a novel of love and partition been told from the point of view of the Sikh minority, never before through Sikh women's eyes. This is a novel to read, treasure and admire that, like its two compelling heroines, resists all efforts to be put aside.