The Time-machine

‘The Time Machine’

by Nikesh Shukla (Galley Beggar Press)

Released: 16 August 2013

Format: e-book: e-pub, mobi, pdf

We grew up in households where food was important. We grew up in households where the kitchen was the centre of our universes. The main family thoroughfare happened in our kitchens. 

‘The Time Machine’ is a new novella about food and grief by award-winning author Nikesh Shukla.

It documents Ashok’s attempts to cook food like mum used to make in the wake of her death. If he succeeds, his time machine will have worked and he’ll be transported back to a time when the family home was alive with the sounds of cricket, the smell of food and the presence of his mother. The story is a tender, funny ode to home-cooked Gujarati cooking (‘not tandoori or balti, are you rogan joshing me?’), peppered with family recipes and outdated wisdom from over-bearing aunties. 

25p from each sale of ‘The Time Machine’ will be donated to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

The novella deals with the universal themes of food, memory and grief. About losing a parent before you have the chance to learn everything you need to from them. About finding home. 

Shukla said of the novella: ‘I lost my mum to cancer in 2010, the week my first novel came out. It’s been hard to write about anything else, think about anything else, cook anything else other than the dishes that make the world smell like a world she’s alive in. I wanted to write some sort of mawkish tribute to her legacy, which is food. She was the best cook in the world. I’ll never taste anything approaching her food again. It wasn’t about technical expertise, measurements and outlandish recipes – it was about the soul, about practice and about love. I’ve decided to give all my earnings from this piece of work to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to help raise awareness of this all-too common condition.’

Sam Jordison, from Galley Beggar Press, said: ‘I always knew Nikesh could write: and write damn well. That's why I was so keen to get him involved in The Singles Club. What I didn't know was that he'd make me want to cry too. This story is just lovely. It's touching, funny and full of nostalgia, but never at all mawkish. It's delicate and beautifully flavoured. And I kind of want to make more food jokes here, but that would be out of keeping with a story that so cleverly avoids cliché and the obvious line. Let's just stick to saying that it's wonderful.’ 

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: ‘Buy this book. Not only will you enjoy a heart-warming story, you will also be supporting us in our mission to give help and hope to everyone affected by lung cancer – the UK’s biggest cancer killer. All the money raised will go towards vital lung cancer research and providing support to patients and their families.’

Nikesh Shukla’s bio 

Nikesh Shukla is a writer of fiction and television. His debut novel, Coconut Unlimited was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010 and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2011. In 2011, Nikesh co-wrote a non-fiction essay about the riots with Kieran Yates called Generation Vexed: What the Riots Don't Tell Us About Our Nation's Youth. In 2008, he and film-maker Videowallah won the Satyajit Ray Foundation Best Short Film Award for ‘The Great Identity Swindle’.

His short stories have been featured in the following places: Best British Short Stories 2013, Five Dials, The Moth Magazine, Pen Pusher, The Sunday Times, Book Slam, BBC Radio 4, First City Magazine and Teller Magazine. He has written for the Guardian, Esquire and BBC 2. He has, in the past, been writer in residence for BBC Asian Network and Royal Festival Hall. His Channel 4 Comedy Lab Kabadasses aired on E4 and Channel 4 in 2011 and starred Shazad Latif, Jack Doolan and Josie Long. He hosts The Subaltern podcast, the anti-panel discussion featuring conversations with writers about writing. Guests have included Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, James Salter, George Saunders. 

Galley Beggar Press

Galley Beggar Press is a new publishing company based in Norwich founded by Henry Layte, Eloise Millar and Sam Jordison. 

Our aim is to be an old fashioned publisher for the 21st Century.

Old fashioned because we believe in the beauty of books and the printed word, in the importance of nurturing authors and paying serious attention to editing, and in the vital importance of art as well as commerce. 

21st Century, not just because that’s where we are, but because we also believe in the fantastic potential of ebooks to reach new audiences, to spread our writers’ precious words around the world and to revive and revitalise books that would otherwise either be out of print or lost on the backlist.

First conceived in 2011, Galley Beggar Press is a company specifically set-up to act as a sponsor to writers who have struggled to either find or retain a publisher, and (most importantly) whose writing shows great ambition and literary merit. Our primary questions are not who someone is, or whether something is going to make it into the supermarkets. Rather, it’s whether this is an author we want, a novel we love. If the answer is yes on both counts – then, no matter how challenging a read the book is (or how obscure the author), we will set about bringing it to the widest possible public. . 

Really, at Galley Beggar Press, it’s this simple: we want to produce beautiful books, and we want to be governed by the quality and verve of the writing we publish. We have faith in writers, we have faith in readers – and if we feel strongly enough about a book to want to share it, we hope and trust that others will want to read it.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation 

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is a registered charity in the United Kingdom which aims to provide help and hope to people affected by lung cancer. Founded in Liverpool in 1990, it is the only UK charity to focus solely on lung cancer care. The charity has a dual focus - saving lives and supporting people affected by lung cancer. It funds lung cancer research, supports the prevention of lung cancer by encouraging and helping people to avoid or quit smoking, and raises general awareness of lung cancer and its symptoms. It also supports lung cancer patients by running support groups, providing information to the NHS, and other measures.

The organisation was founded as the Lung Cancer Fund in 1990 by Professor Ray Donnelly, a thoracic surgeon working in Liverpool, where it provided the first lung cancer support nurse in 1991. In 1993 Donnelly proposed the creation of an international centre for lung cancer research. At this time UK entertainer Roy Castle had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and he agreed to raise £12 million to build, equip and run the new centre. The Lung Cancer Fund was therefore renamed the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Castle continued fundraising for the charity until his death in September 1994.