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Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel
Fawzia Afzal-Khan
0271010134
Nov 1993
Paperback
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Diamond Dust
Anita Desai
061804213X
May 2000
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
The nine stories in this collection from Desai (Fasting, Feasting) are served up with characteristic perspicuity, subtle humor and attention to the little hypocrisies of the middle class. Diverse settings and domestic dramas frame universal themes, often involving the complex relationship between an individual and her/his family and culture. In "Winterscape," Rakesh's "two mothers" fly to Canada from India to attend the birth of his first child. Rakesh, now "a husband, a Canadian" and fairly alienated from his past, has trouble explaining to his wife, Beth, the love and sympathy with which his mother gave him to her childless sister. "Tepoztlan Tomorrow" offers a familiar Desai scenario of "aging daughters taking care of their aged parents," and features a young man, studying in the States, back to visit his...


The Zigzag Way
Anita Desai
0618042156
Nov 2004
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Like the recent film Lost in Translation, Desai's new novel tells of an American adrift in a foreign culture that remains frustratingly inscrutable. Eric is a New England–born graduate student in history at Harvard who follows his scientist girlfriend, Em, on a research trip to Mexico. Once she sets off with her colleagues to conduct field observations, he is left alone and overwhelmed by his own lack of purpose. Remembering that his Cornish grandfather, about whom he knows next to nothing, had worked as a miner in the Sierra Madre in the early part of the 20th century, he determines he will use the trip to find out more about his family's past. Along the way he meets an eccentric, powerful European woman, Doña Vera, who has become a champion of indigenous culture but whose own past is mysterious....


Baumgartner's Bombay
Anita Desai
0618056807
May 2000
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
This ninth novel by Desai ( Clear Light of Day ; Games at Twilight ), a professor at Mount Holyoke College, reflects the author's background: her mother was German, her father Indian. The novel's hero, Hugo Baumgartner, is a perpetual outsider. Raised in the comforts of a rich Berlin merchant family, he narrowly escapes the Nazis by fleeing to Calcutta. There, after some success at starting over, he is imprisoned alongside dedicated Nazis by indifferent Anglo-Indian authorities. After the war comes the upheaval of partition. Now, in the present, Baumgartner is spending his declining years in a seedy cat-filled room off a back street in Bombay. He accepts the hand life has dealt him: "Acceptingbut not accepted; that was the story of his life. . . . In Germany, . . . his darkness had marked him the Jew. . . . In...


Fasting, Feasting
Anita Desai
0618065822
Jan 2000
Paperback
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Book Review
Anita Desai has long proved herself one of the most accomplished and admired chroniclers of middle-class India. Her 1999 novel, Fasting, Feasting, is the tale of plain and lumpish Uma and the cherished, late-born Arun, daughter and son of strict and conventional parents. So united are her parents in Uma's mind that she conflates their names. "MamaPapa themselves rarely spoke of a time when they were not one. The few anecdotes they related separately acquired great significance because of their rarity, their singularity." Throughout, Desai perfectly matches form and content: details are few, the focus narrow, emotions and needs given no place. Uma, as daughter and female, 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...


Postcolonial Literatures: Achebe, Ngugi, Desai, Walcott
Michael Parker (Editor)
0312126646
September 1995
Hardcover
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Clear Light of Day
Anita Desai
0618074511
Sept 2000
Paperback
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From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith
Clear Light of Day is both an examination of contemporary India and a family history in which two sisters, Bim and Tara, learn that although there will always be family scars, the ability to forgive and forget is a powerful ally against life's sorrows. Twenty years ago when Tara married, she left Old Delhi and a home full of sickness and death, while Bim continued to live in the family home, taking care of their autistic brother, Baba. Now Tara has returned, her first visit in ten years, for their niece's wedding. Bim refuses to attend; she can't visit their brother Raja who, like Tara, left her many years ago. Instead Bim dwells bitterly on her feelings of abandonment and the impact on her of her country's recent history: the violent conflict between Hindus and Moslems, the...


Home and the World
Rabindranath Tagore
0140449868
May 2005
Paperback
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The Zigzag Way
Anita Desai
0618619801
Feb 2006
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Like the recent film Lost in Translation, Desai's new novel tells of an American adrift in a foreign culture that remains frustratingly inscrutable. Eric is a New England–born graduate student in history at Harvard who follows his scientist girlfriend, Em, on a research trip to Mexico. Once she sets off with her colleagues to conduct field observations, he is left alone and overwhelmed by his own lack of purpose. Remembering that his Cornish grandfather, about whom he knows next to nothing, had worked as a miner in the Sierra Madre in the early part of the 20th century, he determines he will use the trip to find out more about his family's past. Along the way he meets an eccentric, powerful European woman, Doña Vera, who has become a champion of indigenous culture but whose own past is mysterious....


The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism
Nyla Ali Ali Khan
0415975212
August 2005
Hardcover
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Book Description
The book focuses on the representation of South Asian life in works by four Anglophone writers: V. S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, and Anita Desai. Concentrating on the intertwined topics of nationalism, transnationalism, and fundamentalism, the book addresses the dislocation associated with these phenomena, offering a critical dialogue between these works and contemporary history, using history to interrogate fiction and fiction to think through historical issues. Despite all their differences, the works of these authors delineate the asymmetrical relations of colonialism and the aftermath of this phenomenon as it is manifested across the globe. The binary structures created by the colonial encounter undergo a process of dialectical interplay in which each culture makes incursions into the other. This...


Midnight's Children
Salman Rushdie
0679444629
Oct 1995
Hardcover
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Book Review
Anyone who has spent time in the developing world will know that one of Bombay's claims to fame is the enormous film industry that churns out hundreds of musical fantasies each year. The other, of course, is native son Salman Rushdie--less prolific, perhaps than Bollywood, but in his own way just as fantastical. Though Rushdie's novels lack the requisite six musical numbers that punctuate every Bombay talkie, they often share basic plot points with their cinematic counterparts. Take, for example, his 1980 Booker Prize-winning Midnight's Children: two children born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947--the moment at which India became an independent nation--are switched in the hospital. The infant scion of a wealthy Muslim family is sent to be raised in a Hindu tenement, while the legitimate heir to such squalor ends...


Calcutta
Krishna Dutta
1566564883
Mar 2003
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Dutta depicts Calcutta's many faces in this erudite guide to the city, which is part of the Cities of the Imagination Series. The author, who was born and raised in Calcutta and who has translated Bengali literature, divides her book into nine chapters, each one examining a different facet of the varied Indian metropolis. Her section on "Company Calcutta" identifies Calcutta's founder, Job Charnock, and pinpoints August 24, 1690 as the "beginning of Calcutta." She goes on, in that chapter, to discuss cultural mixing (between the colonizers and the colonized) in the 1700s. Another chapter, entitled "City of Strife," addresses Calcutta's longstanding image of poverty and portrays Mother Teresa as having "an uncanny understanding of the psychology of charity." Wide-ranging if dense, Dutta's work presents an in-depth...


Arctic Summer
E. M. Forster
1843910616
Mar 2004
Paperback
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About the Author
Edward Morgan Forster was born on January 1, 1879, in London, England. He never knew his father, who died when Forster was an infant. Forster graduated from King's College, Cambridge, with B.A. degrees in classics (1900) and history (1901), as well as an M.A. (1910). In the mid-1940s he returned to Cambridge as a professor, living quietly there until his death in 1970. Forster was named to the Order of Companions of Honor to the Queen in 1953. Forster's writing was extensively influenced by the traveling he did in the earlier part of his life. After graduating from Cambridge, he lived in both Greece and Italy, and used the latter as the setting for the novels Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and A Room with a View (1908). The Longest Journey was published in 1907. Howard's End was modeled on the house he lived in with...


Daughters of the Vicar
D. H. Lawrence
1843910837
April 2004
Paperback
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Bruce Allen, Kirkus Reviews
“All hail and welcome… to a splendid new publishing venture. And may Hesperus Press keep on surprising us.”

Adrienne Miller, Esquire
“Bravo to Hesperus…. These titles have been largely lost to the general reading public… exquisitely cool little volumes.”

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