“Gaiutra Bahadur’s pathbreaking book carefully excavates an imperial history of violence and uprooting. But this is no simple account of victimhood. It shows, with understated literary power, the bitterly paradoxical nature of colonial modernity: the unbearable dialectic between enslavement and liberation that many unsung millions underwent in their private lives.” — Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia

“An astonishing document . . . both a historical rescue mission and a profound meditation on family and womanhood, Bahadur’s Coolie Woman spans continents and centuries, the private and national, to bring to light the extraordinary lives of the author’s great-grandmother and the other quarter of a million coolie women that came to the New World as indentured laborers. Bahadur’s meticulous research and tireless perseverance have restored an important chapter in our histories—outstanding work.” — Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her

“With the exhilarating meticulousness of a period film, Coolie Woman recreates a vanished world and casts a personal searchlight on the saga of indenture. Gaiutra Bahadur rescues her great-grandmother Sujaria and other ‘coolie’ women from the archives by means of a narrative that is both scholarly and soulful. In detailing the bitter journeys of her forebears, in making their astonishing experiences real and sympathetic, and in registering the complexities of their lives—not least the extent to which they made choices where one might have expected helplessness—Bahadur honors their memories and shows herself their worthy descendant.”—Teju Cole, author of Open City

“I thought I knew something about slavery and forced labour, having written two books on the subject. And I thought I knew something about immigration to the New World. But Gaiutra Bahadur’s book made me realize how the experience of a whole generation of women like her great-grandmother profoundly challenges the various stereotypes we have. This is a highly original combination of careful scholarship and well-told personal journey.” — Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains

“Every so often a history book comes along that grips you into a cascade of compelling narrative. The writer excavates new ore from old seams. Coolie Woman is such a book, destined for a unique place in the multi-mirror of Caribbean culture.” — John Agard, poet, winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry (author of “Listen Mr. Oxford Don” and “Half-Caste”)

“Bahadur braids a dazzling rope from the history of Indian migration to the Caribbean, the experience of Indians in Guyana and of Indo-Guyanese immigrants in the United States, and the joy and pain of ‘return’ to India. Deeply researched, elegantly written, Coolie Woman is a major contribution to the literature of diaspora.” — Richard Drayton, Rhodes Professor of Imperial History, King’s College London

“An impassioned, meticulously researched, and gripping book that shines a fierce light on a dark, unexplored corner of the history of colonialism and slavery, Coolie Woman intertwines the personal and the historical to sensational effect. It is also a uniquely affecting piece of work.” — Neel Mukherjee, author of A Life Apart