Myung and Laleh are keepers of the whale of babel. They roam within its cosmic chambers, speak folktales of themselves, and pray to an enigmatic figure they know only as 'Great Wisa'. To Laleh, this is everything. For Myung, it is not enough.
When Myung flees the whale, she stumbles into a new universe where shapeshifting islands and ancient maps hold sway. There, she sets off on an adventure that is both tragic and transformative, for her and Laleh. For at the heart of her quest lies a mystery that has confounded scholars for generations: the truth about the mad sisters of Esi.
Fables, dreams and myths come together in this masterful work of fantasy by acclaimed author Tashan Mehta, sweeping across three landscapes, and featuring a museum of collective memory and a festival of madness. At its core, it asks: In the devastating chaos of this world, where all is in flux and the truth ever-changing, what will you choose to hold on to?
'Tashan Mehta is one of the most gifted, original writers you'll ever read. Mad Sisters of Esi shows us, again, her skill with both the cosmic and the deeply personal. All of it is magical.'
--Samit Basu, author of Chosen Spirits and The City Inside
'Think of Elena Ferrante, but set in a magical, fantasy world. Blurring boundaries between genres, Tashan Mehta's Mad Sisters of Esi takes on from where the brilliant The Liar's Weave left off, and is a remarkable second novel from a very gifted writer.'
--Gautam Bhatia, author of The Wall and The Horizon
'Tashan Mehta shows herself to be a contemporary successor of Italo Calvino with the magnificent Mad Sisters of Esi, a tale of tales wrapped in iridescent spacetime, an infinitely nested creation myth, a portal and a ship and a campfire woven of prose.'
--Indrapramit Das, author of The Devourers
'Sometimes a fantasy comes along so startling and so keenly felt that it changes the way you look at the world for the better. Wonderfully immersive, deeply pleasurable and utterly original, Mad Sisters of Esi is a classic in the making and the best book I've read in years.'
--Helen Marshall, author of The Migration and winner of the World Fantasy Award