Daunt Books Publishing has acquired the memoir Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla, a New York subway conductor who was born an "untouchable" in India.
Co-publishers Karen Maine and Željka Marošević acquired British Commonwealth rights excluding India from Naoise McGee at FSG. The book was published in the US in July 2017 and Daunt Books will publish in Spring 2018.
Gidla grew up in the "untouchable" slum of Elwin Peta in Kakinada. Over the course of the 20th century, her Christian untouchable family emerged from a jungle to intersect with every possible strand of Indian society and the landmark events of its history, from the dying days of Colonial rule to the Independence movement and the emergence of radical left-wing activism.
Ants Among Elephants tells Gidla’s "remarkable" family story from the end of British colonial rule to her uncle’s emergence as a poet and revolutionary, and her mother’s emancipation through education. The book has already been a New York Times Editors' Choice and been described by The Economist as "the most striking work of non-fiction set in India since Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo".
Maine and Marosevic said: "Ants Among Elephants is a unique and hugely important book on India from a perspective we haven’t encountered before. Everyone at Daunt Books was blown away by the stories in Gidla’s book, and her beautiful, novelistic writing style. She takes us into lives of the lowest caste of society, and shows us women’s lives as they are really lived. The book weaves a fresh and vital history of resistance, radical politics, and resilience: it will open the eyes of every reader who thought they understood India, and make them look again."