The Watch

By Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya
(Hogarth, Hardcover, 9780307955890, 304pp.)

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

List Price: $25.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the June 2012 Indie Next List
“From the very exciting launch of the British imprint Hogarth in the United States comes a raw and poignant tale of the war in Afghanistan. Inevitable repercussions for the soldiers and citizens of the country play out viscerally in a novel that takes its cues from the Antigone myth. There is much to learn and then to think about here.”
-- Dana Bringham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA


   Following a desperate night-long battle, a group of beleaguered soldiers in an isolated base in Kandahar are faced with a lone woman demanding the return of her brother’s body. Is she a spy, a black widow, a lunatic, or is she what she claims to be: a grieving young sister intent on burying her brother according to local rites? Single-minded in her mission, she refuses to move from her spot on the field in full view of every soldier in the stark outpost. Her presence quickly proves dangerous as the camp’s tense, claustrophobic atmosphere comes to a boil when the men begin arguing about what to do next.
   Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya’s heartbreaking and haunting novel, The Watch, takes a timeless tragedy and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan. Taking its cues from the Antigone myth, Roy-Bhattacharya brilliantly recreates the chaos, intensity, and immediacy of battle, and conveys the inevitable repercussions felt by the soldiers, their families, and by one sister. The result is a gripping tour through the reality of this very contemporary conflict, and our most powerful expression to date of the nature and futility of war.

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About the Author

Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya was educated in politics and philosophy at Presidency College, Calcutta, and the University of Pennsylvania. His novels The Gabriel Club and The Storyteller of Marrakesh have been published in fourteen languages. He lives in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.

Visit him at

Conversation Starters from


  1. In ancient Greek lore, Antigone (pronounced anne-TIH-guh-nee) is a defiant young woman willing to risk her life so that her brother’s body can receive proper burial rites. Their uncle, King Creon (KREE-on), has become blinded by power, decreeing that no one will honor the remains of this nephew, whom Creon considers to be a traitor. Anyone defying the king’s order is to be executed. As Nizam confronts the army, what timeless questions of religious faith versus secular power is she raising? What gives women like Antigone and Nizam, living in male-dominated cultures, the strength to wage wars of conscience?

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