Author(s): Srikumar Sen
Set against the Japanese advance on India during the Second World War, The Skinning Tree centres on the nine-year-old Sabby, who lives in a Calcutta family where sophisticated British habits such as bridge and dinner parties co-exist with Indian values and nationalism. When he is sent to a boarding school in northern India, he witnesses a strict regime in which the schoolboys are beaten and brutalized by the teachers. The boys themselves take on their abusers' cruel traits, mindlessly killing animals and hanging their skins on a cactus, before their thoughts turn to even more sinister schemes. Conspiratorial whisperings and plans of revenge spiral into a tragedy engulfing Sabby, in a chilling novel exploring human nature's darkest facets.
'The Skinning Tree' s account of Calcutta in the early forties is one of the most acute and estranging I've read of that city in a while.' Amit Chaudhuri
Born in Calcutta and following a degree at Oxford, Srikumar Sen started his career as a journalist at the Statesman in India. He later moved to England where he worked at The Guardian before moving to The Times, at which he worked as their Boxing Correspondent for thirty years. The Skinning Tree is his first novel.