Three strangers meet in Bhopal, India: Francoise, an Australian photographer; Naga, a Tibetan refugee, and Arkay, a Scottish alcoholic drawn to Buddhism. Their stories are prompted by the photographs which Francoise assembles into an album - The Red Book - as testament to their time together.The photographs are witness to the traces they have left, the people they have been and the surprising connections between them - in Delhi, Rajasthan, Varanasi, and above all, in Bhopal. Twenty years earlier, a gas leak at Bhopal's Union Carbide factory killed thousands and the city's trauma reverberated through each of their lives. Francoise struggles to successfully bear witness to the event which shaped her life's path; Arkay is brought up against 'the old story' of his discarded alcoholic life; Naga fights his anger at his family's death. Through their meeting in Bhopal and the relationship's that develop between them, each is led to an unexpected resolution of their restless personal search.Meaghan Delahunt's The Red Book beautifully realises the voices of its three narrators, showing how lives entwine and split apart, and the coincidences, connections and disruptions between people, places and lives. It captures the irresistible lure of India for outsiders; the promise of its spirituality and its layered history. It is a meditation on the relations between East and West; on spiritual and political perspectives; on personal and collective responsibility; written in vivide, imaginative and resonant language.
Meaghan Delahunt's first novel, In The Blue House was nominated for the Orange Prize, won the Saltire First Book Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year prize and a regional Commonwealth Prize. She is an award-winning short story writer and her stories have been widely anthologised and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She lectures in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews. Born in Melbourne, Meaghan Delahunt now lives in Edinburgh.