The Inheritance Powder

Hilary Standing


Oct 8, 2015


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‘Understated and powerful, The Inheritance Powder tells a tale of passion and intrigue. A compelling debut’ Susanna Jones, author of The Earthquake Bird and When Nights were Cold

Tired of life and disillusioned with his work, economist Carl Simonovsky would rather stay at home tending his beloved trilliums than work on yet another aid project pretending he knows how to solve complex dilemmas faced by poor countries. When he reluctantly finds himself in Bangladesh, dealing with a case of mass arsenic poisoning caused by a well-meant aid programme, he soon discovers that ignorance of the subject is the least of his problems.

Rumours of scandal and corruption surround the international agency that hired him. When Carl meets Zafirah, the passionate leader of a local grassroots organisation and campaigner on arsenic, he realises he cannot ignore the rumours and must dig deeper. But as the two of them grow closer, it becomes clear that they are on a collision course in relation to the arsenic crisis. If their relationship is to have a future, both face painful compromises, and Carl has to make a decision that will change the course of his personal and professional life for ever.

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About the author

Hilary Standing has a doctorate in social anthropology and has spent much of her professional life working in international development. She has lived and worked for long periods in India and Bangladesh and has researched and consulted in many other countries. She is an emeritus professor and emeritus fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She has always been a secret scribbler and first conceived of this novel over a decade ago.

In 2010, she embarked on an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London, graduating with a distinction. The Inheritance Powder was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize in 2014. She is currently working on two other writing projects closer to home, focused on the worlds of people with learning disabilities.

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