Agastya Sen, a young civil servant is posted to Madna where he experiences kitsch in all its forms - relics of the British Empire, temples, monsoons, Gandhi, savants. In his confusion he lurches towards the Hindu belief in the virtues of renunciation and an uncertain, traumatic, self-knowledge. The author has also written "The Assassination of Indira Gandhi" which was chosen for "Best Short Stories of 1986".
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"...when New York Review Books Classics publishes Upamanyu Chatterjee’s 1988 debut novel, English, August, for the first time in the U.S., Americans will finally have the chance to be in on what readers in England and India have known for years: that the great outpouring of Indian lit over the past decade and a half owes as much to this irreverent, acid-witted book as it does to Salman Rushdie’s magnum opus, Midnight’s Children...A best-seller in India (and later a hit film), English, August struck a chord with a generation of young writers wrestling with the messy sprawl of modern South Asia...English, August is more than a satire. It’s also a novel with resonating concerns about the meaning of maturity in the modern era. ...American readers should identify with the brainy, sarcastic and slightly confused protagonist of English, August as he struggles to find a purpose in a rapidly changing world."—Time Out New YorkFrom the Back Cover:
"English, August is one of the most important novels in Indian writing in English, but not for the usual reasons. Indeed, it’s at war with ‘importance,’ and is one of the few Indian English novels in the last two decades genuinely, and wonderfully, impelled by irreverence and aimlessness. It’s this acutely intelligent conflation of self-discovery with the puncturing of solemnity that makes this book not only a significant work, but a much-loved one." —Amit Chaudhuri
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