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Shambala Junction


The coming-of-age story of a privileged Asian-American who gets stranded in a nowhere town in the middle of India and has to rely on the kindness of strangers to help her find a way home.


Shambala Junction

by Dipika Mukherjee

Winner of the Virginia Prize for Fiction

  • A coming-of-age story from Dipika Mukherjee, Virginia Prize for Fiction winner, Aurora Metro Books’ biennial prize to encourage and promote new writing by women.
  • Tackles the subject of international adoption in a novel way
  • Mukherjee’s previous novel was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize (2011) and republished as Ode to Broken Things (Repeater, 2016).


Iris is visiting India from the US for the first time with her fiance, and not enjoying the experience. When she steps down off the train for a bottle of water at Shambala Junction, little does she know that her life is about to undergo a radical change. Stranded at Shambala, she becomes caught up in the drama of stallholder Aman’s battle to recover his lost child and this tests her courage and beliefs.

Along the way, she finds real friendship, learns the meaning of love and is seduced by India, in all its vivacity and charm.


“This vividly written, courageous book… a refreshingly original viewpoint on the traditional ‘coming of age’ story, brimming with powerful women, a complex society and fundamental human truths laid out in all its gritty beauty.” SkyLightRain

“An enlightening and enjoyable read. As much a cultural exploration as it is a love story, the book is a remarkable webbing of different viewpoints. Mukherjee is able to translate captivating realities to a wide audience through pulsing characters, with a natural story-telling ability that is inviting and enlightening.” Windy City Review

“My hat is off to you for making Shambala Junction a compelling, suspenseful novel that illuminates the personal and social consequences of corrupt adoptions.” Umberto Tosi author of Ophelia Rising and contributing editor of Chicago Quarterly Review

“… fluid prose that takes firm hold of the plot to produce an invigorating, engaging, and dynamic story.” World Literature Today

“A truly engaging and lovely read, Shambala Junction is a book that tugs at the reader’s morality while at the same time telling a truly inspiring coming-of-age story.” 9/10 –

“Shambala Junction takes hold of you and leads you with absolute confidence into one of the most extraordinary journeys any of us ever embark on: the discovery of India.” Barney Norris, author of Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain


About the author

Dipika Mukherjee made her debut as a novelist with Thunder Demons (Gyaana Books, 2011), long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. She won the Platform Flash Fiction competition in April 2009. She has edited two anthologies of Southeast Asian short stories: Silverfish New Writing 6 (Silverfish, 2006) and The Merlion and Hibiscus (Penguin, 2002). Her first poetry collection, The Palimpsest of Exile, was published by Rubicon Press in 2009. Her short stories and poems have appeared in publications around the world, including World Literature Today, Asia Literary Review, The South Asia Review, Del Sol Review and Postcolonial Text among others, and have been widely anthologised. She curates an Asian/American Reading Series for the Guild Literary Complex, Chicago. Dipika holds a doctorate in English (Sociolinguistics) from Texas A&M University. She has taught language and linguistic courses in China, India, the Netherlands, United States, Malaysia, and Singapore and now teaches Sociolinguistics at Northwestern University and is Faculty Affiliate at the Equality Development and Globalisation Studies (EDGS), Roberta Buffett Centre for International and Comparative Studies.

She lives in Chicago with her husband and they have two sons.


Praise for other works

“Dipika Mukherjee uses vibrant imagery and brutally honest observation to create a humanistic portrait of a modern nation still coming to grips with its past.” City Weekend (Shanghai)

“Longlisted for the Man Asian Prize in 2009, Mukherjee’s novel is not unlike Miguel Syjuco’s IIustrado, which won the prize in 2008. Both are grim state-of-the-nation novels based in East Asia, written by peripatetic authors. Both have lead characters who leave relatively comfortable lives in the United States of America to travel back to the troubled East and tragic pasts.” Paperback Pickings, The Telegraph

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