The Skinning Tree
In Srikumar Sen’s first novel, The Skinning Tree, readers are introduced to Sabby, a prepubescent boy sent to live in a boarding school away from the dangers of a Japanese attack on India in the Second World War. Pulled from his Anglicized Calcutta home and thrown into a Northern Indian regime at the tender age of 9. Sabby struggles to acclimate to his new school and fit in with boys who’ve been there before and know just what to expect from their often callous and sometimes cruel educators.
Much of The Skinning Tree can be summed up quickly, and in fact, the author does just that in his first chapter. The rest of the novel is the adult narrator’s reminiscing about the events that transpired when he was nine that shaped the rest of his life.
The story starts slow, but after the first couple of chapters becomes an enthralling look into the dark side of humanity that even a child isn’t immune to. Well-written and compelling, The Skinning Tree is a book that will stick with me and that I’ll be recommending to people for some time to come.