By Michelle Nathan
Another lucky acquisition from NetGalley, The One Who Wrote Destiny by Nikesh Shukla is a book I have been excited to read for a while now. This book is wonderful in many ways, but I especially loved how it made me feel connected to my family and Asian heritage while also reminding me, and consolidating a belief I already hold strongly, that no one person’s experience is the same. As a group, first generation Asian immigrants and their children have certain shared experiences, of course, but all of us have lived very different and individual lives as well. Shukla does an amazing job of balancing these two ideas of shared and individual experiences pretty much perfectly in this book – which is something that I go into (alongside much more!) in my full review below.
Short n’ Sweet Summary
The One Who Wrote Destiny shares the tales, dreams and heartbreaks of three generations of one family, weaving through time and space. We start with Mukesh, who has just moved from Kenya to Keighley, England, a hopeless romantic who has fallen for the desi girl across the road. Neha, his daughter, is dying of the same cancer that stole her mother’s life, and is looking for a logical reason behind the ‘big questions’, both craving and rejecting human connection all at once. Her brother, Raks, is a stand-up comedian, grieving for his twin sister’s death and trying to make sense of it through his humour. Ba is the twins’ grandmother, a woman who left England to escape the ghosts of her beloved family members, lost too soon. She doesn’t know what to do with two children who don’t even share her mother tongue, but maybe a connection can be forged through sugar rotlis.