Book Talk: The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing by Sonia Faleiro

“ A riveting--sometimes astonishing--work of forensic journalism that chronicles the girls' lives as well as the circumstances of their death.”—Wall Street Journal

The BookWalker

By the award-winning writer of Beautiful Thing, a masterly inquest into how the mysterious deaths of two teenage girls shone a light into the darkest corners of a nation.

About the Book

The girls' names were Padma and Lalli, but they were so inseparable that people in the village called them Padma Lalli. Sixteen-year-old Padma sparked and burned. Fourteen-year-old Lalli was an incorrigible romantic.

They grew up in Katra Sadatganj, an eye-blink of a village in western Uttar Pradesh crammed into less than one square mile of land. It was out in the fields, in the middle of mango season, that the rumors started.

Then one night in the summer of 2014 the girls went missing; and hours later they were found hanging in the orchard. Who they were, and what had happened to them, was already less important than what their disappearance meant to the people left behind.

In the ensuing months, the investigation into their deaths would implode everything that their small community held to be true, and instigate a national conversation about sex and violence. Slipping deftly behind political maneuvering, caste systems and codes of honor in a village in northern India, The Good Girls returns to the scene of Padma and Lalli's short lives and shameful deaths, and dares to ask: what is the human cost of shame?

Reviews & What Readers Say

The Good Girls is transfixing; it has the pacing and mood of a whodunit, but no clear reveal; Faleiro does not indict the cruelty or malice of any individual, nor any particular system. She indicts something even more common, and in its own way far more pernicious: a culture of indifference that allowed for the neglect of the girls in life and in death."

Parul Sehgal, New York Times

“[A] gripping, real-life murder mystery... Taut with dramatic tension, The Good Girls vividly captures the sights, sounds, smells, preoccupations and oppressiveness of the village... [and] effectively captures the circus-like atmosphere that typically follows heinous crimes in India... Faleiro writes sensitively about her subjects' actions and motivations.”

Financial Times

A modern-day Rashomon that offers multiple views of the widely publicized deaths of two young women in rural India...A gripping story.

Kirkus Reviews

Chilling and devastating, The Good Girls is narrative reportage at its very best.

Fatima Bhutto

Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music and Fame

The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing by Sonia Faleiro

Grove Press

314 pages

ISBN 978-802158208

Note: Now available. Click here

Sonia Faleiro is an award-winning writer and the author of three previous books. Her previous book Beautiful Thing was selected as an Observer, Economist, Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Time Out, NPR and Kirkus Book of the Year. Her writing and photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times, Guardian and Granta. In 2011 Faleiro was awarded the Karmaveer Puraskaar for Social Justice 'for drawing attention to India's most vulnerable'. Faleiro is a co-founder of Deca, a global journalism cooperative that creates long-form stories to read on mobile devices. She lives in London.