Fasting And Feasting

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Author: Anita Desai

9788184000580 | PB | pp. 231 | 2008 | Penguin Random House India

This novel split into two parts tells the story of day to day happenings in the Indian family, and the story of cultural shock and bewilderment of a brother of the family far away from home. It also gives a glimpse into the eating habits in the different cultures.

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A wonderful novel in two parts, moving from the heart of a close-knit Indian household, with its restrictions and prejudices, its noisy warmth and sensual appreciation of food, to the cool centre of an American family, with its freedom and strangely self-denying attitudes to eating. In both it is ultimately the women who suffer, whether, paradoxically, from a surfeit of feasting and family life in India, or from self-denial and starvation in the US. or both. Uma, the plain, older daughter still lives at home, frustrated in her attempts to escape and make a life for herself. Her Indian family is difficult, demanding but mostly, good hearted. Despite her disappointments, Uma comes through as the survivor, avoiding an unfulfilling marriage, like her sister’s, or a suicidal one, like that arranged for her pretty cousin. And in America, where young Arun goes as a student, men in the suburbs char hunks of bleeding meat while the women don’t appear to cook or eat at all. This seems bewildering and terrifying to the young Indian adolescent far from home.

Author:

Anita Desai

ISBN:

9788184000580

Publisher:

Penguin Random House India

Binding:

Paperback

Pages:

231

Year of Publication:

2008

Edition:

First

Condition:

New

Country of Origin:

India

About the Author

The author (born in 1937 in Mussoorie, India) is a novelist, short-story writer and children’s author. She was educated at Delhi University.

Her novels include Fire on the Mountain (1977), which won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, and Clear Light of Day (1980), In Custody (1984) and Fasting and Feasting (1999), each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In Custody was made into a film by Merchant Ivory productions. Her children’s book The Village by the Sea (1982), won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Girton College, Cambridge and Clare Hall, Cambridge.

Anita Desai lives in the United States, where she is the John E. Burchard Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. Her most recent book is The Artist of Disappearance (2011), a trio of linked novellas about the art world, each featuring a different kind of disappearance.

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