The Last Jet-engine Laugh

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Flamingo, 2001 - Fiction - 384 pages
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This is a debut novel from India of an utterly original kind. Joshi has found a style and a form in which to say new things about the Indian experience in a new manner. Like Roy, Joshi is doing something entirely fresh. The novel takes three generations of a Gujarati family and uses them to track the course of Indian history back to 1930 and forward into the first decades of the next century. The grandparents are disciples of Gandhi, smart, sarcastic and principled; they meet on a non-violent demonstration against British rule in Calcutta in the 1930s, fall in love while falling under the army's baton. Their only son, Paresh, our principal narrator, grows up to drift through life, torn in different directions all at once. In turn, he produces a daughter, Para, who is tomboyish, aggressive, martial, and, in her sequences in the book, a squadron leader in the Indian Air Force when, in the near future, India is at war with a Muslim Pakistani-Iranian alliance. She therefore kills people for a living and is the antithesis of her grandparents' principles of Gandhiesque non-violence, civil disobedience and passive resistance. This trajectory of Indian history from non-violence to belliger

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