Anita Desai Fasting, Feasting A Fmt

ISBN 13: 9780099284727

Fasting, Feasting A Fmt

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9780099284727: Fasting, Feasting A Fmt

Fasting, Feasting

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Review:

Anita Desai, through her short stories and novels, two of which, Clear Light of Day and In Custody, have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is one of the most accomplished and admired chroniclers of middle-class India. In this, her latest novel, she tells the story of plain and lumpish Uma and the cherished, late-born Arun, daughter and son of strict and conventional parents--"MamaPapa" in Uma's mind, so united are they in their unyielding views and dictums.

Desai perfectly matches form and content: details are few, the focus narrow, emotions and needs given no place. Uma, as daughter and woman, expects nothing; Arun, as son and male, is lost under the weight of expectation.

Now in her 40s, Uma is at home. Attempts at arranged marriages having ended in humiliation and disaster, she is at the beck and call of MamaPapa, with only her collection of bangles and old Christmas cards for consolation.

Arun, at university in Massachusetts, is having to spend the summer with the Patton family in the suburbs: their fridge and freezer full of meat that no one eats, and Mrs Patton desperate to be a vegetarian, like Arun. But what Arun most wants is to be ignored, invisible.

The novel's counterpointing of India and America is a little forced, whereas Desai's focus on the daily round, whether in the Gangetic plain or suburban America, finely delineates the unspoken dramas in both cultures. And her characters, emblematic in their suffering. but capable of their own small rebellions, give Fasting, Feasting its sharp bite. --Ruth Petrie This review refers to the paperback edition of this novel.

Review:

"Desai is more than smart; she's an undeniable genius." ( Washington Post)

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Anita Desai
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