Shobha Rao's 'Girls Burn Brighter' Explores Female Friendship Riven by Tragedy

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Shobha Rao (Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez)

In November 1999, two teenage sisters were found unconscious in a Berkeley apartment, poisoned by carbon monoxide. Both had been sex trafficked from India to the United States, and the elder sister died. The tragedy became the inspiration for Shobha Rao's debut novel "Girls Burn Brighter," which traces the friendship between two girls in rural India who are separated by harrowing events. Rao says that although the girls are "driven to near-annihilation by the world," hers is ultimately a happy story, as they retain their capacity for love and goodness. Rao joins Forum to discuss the book.

Shobha Rao,
author, "Girls Burn Brighter" and "An Unrestored Woman"