In these wry, lyrical stories, men, women, children, and even gods try to maintain their dignity, and make sense of their lives, amid the jostling loneliness and cultural upheaval of post-post-independence India. Whether it's an embarrassed schoolboy standing up to the tyranny of disco, a conventional housewife inspired to write her memoirs, a businessman attending memorial rites for a young suicide, or two divorcees about to enter an arranged marriage, the portraits that Amit Chaudhuri draws from India's new middle class are studies in heartbreaking awkwardness and hard-won grace. [via]
Here, too, are those whose vocation puts them at odds with the new India: a teenaged Calcutta poet introduced to Baudelaire by a lonely widower; a traditional singing teacher who finds himself the rage among Bombay's business elite; writers and painters whose seriousness Chaudhuri treats with knowing irony and deep, elegiac respect.
Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Alice Truax called Chaudhuri "an immensely gifted writer who is less interested in one particular story than in all the bits and pieces of stories that make up ordinary life." This brilliantly nuanced first story collection, which ranges over thirty years of Indian life, is proof of his astonishing gifts.