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“As we rushed along the platform edge, desperate to avoid the crowds, Vanessa and I did our best to hold onto our mother’s skirt. As she frantically searched for my father, by our side, Donna wept as she tried to help get us through and keep us all together. Then, above all the tumultuous commotion, I heard my mother start to scream.”



Indian-English is a haunting memoir of growing up in post-colonial India. Jillian Haslam’s harrowing, yet ultimately redemptive story of living in the dark, squalid slums of Calcutta, abused and misunderstood by many, recalls the darkest moments of Angela’s Ashes and the inner turmoil of The Glass Castle.

For every atrocity she describes, however, there is a parallel kindness – a sacrifice, really – on the part of the other poorest of the poor who helped her family to survive. Within these humble people thrives a grace beyond description, but Jillian and her family were amongst this number. The Haslams suffered so much, the death of children, abject starvation, trauma and humiliation, yet they also sought to give to others.

Without pulling any punches, the story recounts how Jillian learned to look for the positives embedded in the numerous and wholly daunting challenges encountered on her path to adulthood. Showing how she used the morality and forgiveness, ingrained in her upbringing, to overcome extreme adversity, this richest of stories vividly illustrates why Jillian Haslam, a woman of deep compassion, truly inspires everyone she meets.

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Jillian Haslam
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