Mahesh Rao was born and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. His work has been shortlisted for the 2013 Bridport Prize, the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and the 2010 Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest. He lives in Mysore. This is his first novel. www.maheshrao.info
THE FUTURE IS HERE. India has just sent its first spacecraft to the moon, and the placid city of Mysore is gearing up for its own global recognition with the construction of HeritageLand-Asia's largest theme park. From behind the formidable gates of Mahalakshmi Gardens to the shanty houses on the edge of town, the people of Mysore are abuzz as they watch their city prepare for a complete transformation. As government officials make plans for the expected tourism extravaganza, Mysore's residents find themselves swept up in the ferment. Susheela, an elderly widow, is forced into a secretive new life. Uma, trying to escape her painful past, learns the lasting power of local gossip. And Mala must finally confront the reality of her husband's troubling behaviour. Savagely funny and deeply poignant, The Smoke Is Rising is a riveting portrait of a city hurtling towards an epic clash of modernity and tradition, and all the wandering souls-some hopeful, some broken, and a few somewhere in between-who find themselves caught in the middle.