A tremendous first novel from an exciting young author. Feted for its electric chaos, the city of Bombay also accommodates pockets of calm. In one such enclave, Mohan, a middle-aged letter writer - the last of a dying profession - sits under a banyan tree in Fort, furnishing missives for village migrants, disenchanted lovers, and when pickings are slim, filling in money order forms. But Mohan's true passion is collecting second-hand books; he's particularly attached to novels with marginal annotations. So when the pavement booksellers of Fort are summarily evicted, Mohan's life starts to lose some of its animating lustre. At this tenuous moment Mohan - and his wife, Lakshmi - are joined in Saraswati Park, a suburban housing colony, by their nephew, Ashish, a diffident, sexually uncertain 19-year-old who has to repeat his final year in college. As Saraswati Park unfolds, the lives of each of the three characters are thrown into sharp relief by the comical frustrations of family life: annoying relatives, unspoken yearnings and unheard grievances. When Lakshmi loses her only brother, she leaves Bombay for a relative's home to mourn not only the death of a sibling but also the vital force of her marriage. Ashish, meanwhile, embarks on an affair with a much richer boy in his college; it ends abruptly. Not long afterwards, he succumbs to the overtures of his English tutor, Narayan. As Mohan scribbles away in the sort of books he secretly hopes to write one day, he worries about whether his wife will return, what will become of Ashish's life, and if he himself will ever find his own voice to write from the margins about the centre of which he will never be a part. Elliptical and enigmatic, but beautifully rendered and wonderfully involving, Saraswati Park is a book about love and loss and the noise in our heads - and how, in spite of everything, life, both lived and imagined, continues.
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Anjali Joseph was born in Bombay in 1978. She read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, and has taught English at the Sorbonne, written for the Times of India in Bombay and been a Commissioning Editor for ELLE (India). She graduated from the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 2008, and lives in London and Bombay. Saraswati Park is her first novel.Review:
'Joseph writes beautifully about quietness and stillness!she evokes the physical world that her characters inhabit exactly, without ever resorting to the sort of touristic colour that mars some English language Indian novels!this is a quiet, restrained novel but a great deal is going on beneath the surface' Sunday Times 'Joseph contrasts the inner and outer lives of her characters, and the uneasy friction between new and old cultures, with all the wit and delicacy of a latter-day Mrs Gaskell' The Times 'Anjali Joseph's debut novel is replete with evocative images of Bombay!but the book's greatest strength lies in its delicate portrayal of a young man's desperation for intimate connection, and a couple's acceptance of a marriage that has failed' Financial Times 'An unhurried, quietly heartbreaking study of a lower middle-class Bombay family's disintegration and renewal!Joseph's skill is finding the poetry inside modest dreams, small tragedies and disappointments' Metro 'A beautiful novel that personifies the new India from the inside out' Literary Review 'The frustrations of middle-class family life are the focus of Bombay-set Saraswati Park ! each character quickly feels like a familiar face, making this like The Corrections, but set in India!a treat' ELLE 'Since the publication of Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children the dominant mode of Indian fiction in English has been a kind of manic inclusiveness!Anjali Jospeh's first novel is remarkable for how clearly it rejects that ambition: modest in scale, refined in sensibility, and almost free of dramatic incident, it recalls the hushed, civilised tones of a generation of novelists that included R K Marayan!the limpidity of Joseph's writing allows her to enter with unusual force into these torpid, melancholic lives. But the tone of her narrative is leavened by the gentle humour of her characterisation' TLS 'Here is the suburban, petit bourgeois world of Bombay, seldom written about before, and with such acuity, delicacy, and intelligence, illuminated at different times of day by flashes of reflected light. This is the best debut novel I've read for a long time: admirable in its masterful ease, moving in its constant surrender to compassion and wonder' Amit Chaudhuri 'A wry and delicate portrait of domestic life, brimful of secret longings' Giles Foden "A first novel of great poise, full of understated drama" Tash Aw
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2010. Book Condition: New. A tremendous first novel from an exciting young author. Num Pages: 272 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 232 x 154 x 23. Weight in Grams: 408. . 2010. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # KTJ0024708
Book Description Fourth Estate. Book Condition: New. A tremendous first novel from an exciting young author. Num Pages: 272 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 232 x 154 x 23. Weight in Grams: 408. . 2010. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # KTJ0024708
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0007360770
Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0007360770
Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110007360770