‘The Time Machine’
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to home-cooked Gujarati cooking (‘not tandoori or balti, are you rogan joshing me?’), peppered with family recipes and outdated wisdom from over-bearing aunties.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.’