English, August: An Indian Story

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New York Review Books, 1988 - Fiction - 326 pages
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Agastya Sen, the hero of English, August, is a child of the Indian elite. His father is the governor of Bengal. His friends go to Yale and Harvard. He himself has secured a position in the most prestigious and exclusive of Indian government agencies, the IAS. Agastya's first assignment is to the town of Madna, buried deep in the provinces. There he meets a range of eccentrics worthy of a novel by Evelyn Waugh. Agastya himself smokes a lot of pot and drinks a lot of beer, finds ingenious excuses to shirk work, loses himself in sexual fantasies about his boss's wife, and makes caustic asides to coworkers and friends. And yet he is as impatient with his own restlessness as he is with anything else. Agastya's effort to figure out a place in the world is faltering and fraught with comic missteps. Chatterjee's novel, an Indian Catcher in the Rye with a wild humor and lyricism that are all its own, is at once spiritual quest and a comic revue. It offers a glimpse an Indian reality that proves no less compelling than the magic realism of Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy.

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English, August : An Indian Story (New York Review Books Classics)

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Originally published in 1988, Chatterjee's witty and lyrical first novel became a best seller in his native India. It features young Agastya ("August") Sen, who has joined the Indian Administrative ... Read full review


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About the author (1988)

Born in India, UPAMANYU CHATTERJEE attended St. Stephen’s College in Delhi. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1983, later moving to the United Kingdom to serve as the Writer in Residence at the University of Kent. A writer of short stories and novels, he was appointed Director of Languages in the Ministry of Human Resource Development for the Indian government.

AKHIL SHARMA was born in Delhi, India. He grew up in Edison, New Jersey. His stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories anthology, the O. Henry Award Winners anthology, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker. He is a winner of The Voice Literary Supplement’s Year 2000 "Writers on the Verge" Award.

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