PART 2: you should get to know them!
Let Anita Desai's daughter carry you away to her poetical and offbeat universe. Hullabaloo in the guava orchard will take you up to the branches of a guava tree, where Sampath Chawla, a young teenager, has settled after he got fired from his job in a post office. From then on, he becomes a guru in the town and the prophecies he tells to inhabitants and travellers make his family earn a lot of money. Many things happen, creating obstacles to Sampath's wish of peacefulness, and the character ends up meeting from the top of his guava tree everything he had tried to escape when leaving the ground. We liked the double meaning of this philosophical tale, which is both a poetical novel and an implicit critic of the downsides of Indian society.
|HULLABALOO IN THE GUAVA ORCHARD
Betty Trask Award
Praised by Salman Rushdie
Based on a true story
The film adaptation is more famous than the novel written by this writer, who is also a diplomat. Slumdog Millionnaire, when brought to the screen, led to changing the novel's title (which was at first Q&A).
In this story, the reader follows Ram Mohammad Thomas, a young bar waiter in Mumbai, who just won one billion rupees in a TV game. Doubts rise up, and he is accused of having cheated. Each chapter then introduces the reader to a period of his life told by Ram to his lawyer to justify each one of his answers.
Adventure, suspense and new developments are to be found in this novel. The whole tone remains very positive despite the hardship and the harsh realities the character has to go through.
Q&A (Slumdog Millionnaire)
At first sight the reader may not chose Sacred Games as his next reading. It is a weighty one : 1200 pages, hold on to it! Your reading will also be made difficult because of all the Indian words used (a lexical is available at the end)
However, those who dare continue will not be disappointed! This thriller will guide you inside the slums of Mumbai, through the eyes of many different characters. Like a huge puzzle, follow Sartal, a cop trying to find the reason why a street gang leader named Ganesh committed suicide. As the story evolves, the reader forgets all about the characters, meets other new ones, comes back to them, and witnesses the unfolding of the plot, its main pattern and its ending, very slowly, in the Indian style!
2006: Hutch Crossword Book Award
2007: Salon Book Award
Discover Anamika Sharma's initiation trip. A young, very bright student, she is gradually introduced to sensuality and erotism throughout three encounters with three women of different ages, cultures, experiences. From the divorced woman to the classmate, "Babyji" runs into the discovery of pleasure and senses, with as much eagerness as for her intellectual curiosity. The story will make you laugh, blush, and think (as its character does) about how homosexuality can be affirmed in a country so strict and rigorous as India.
2005 Lambda Literary Award of Lesbian Fiction
2006 Stonewall Book Award (Fiction)
A fine balance is a harsh, violent and impacting novel. It seems to leave no hope at the end of the reading. It is also a novel that is amazingly funny, touching and full of life. It is an India-like novel, emphasizing the paradox of the cast system and the accepting state of mind. Four different characters are introduced to the reader: Dina, a widowed wife who struggles to keep her independence; Ishvar and Omprakash, two tailors from the "untouchable" cast, and Maneck, a student who stays at Dina's place during his studies. The book is 900 pages long, but you'll ask for more when you end the last sentence. It is a powerful novel, and its reading will make you either laugh, or cry. Or both.
|A FINE BALANCE
1995 Prix Giller
Follow Akhila along her train travel. A single, forty-year-old woman, she left her family suddenly. And she travels along other women in the wagon. Janaki, Margaret, Prava Devhi, Marikolanthu : each woman tells her story, one after the other, all the while trying to answer Akhila's question : can a woman get by fine, if she's alone? Each chapter unveils the life story of one woman, enabling a vision from the inside of women's statuses in the Indian society. This entertaining reading will deepen your knowledge and your reflection about Indian culture and traditions.