Fasting, Feasting

Fasting, Feasting

Anita Desai
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Second-Hand (Hardcover)

Excellent condition

A wonderful novel in two parts, which moves 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 attitude 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. Through her eyes her Indian family is conjured up - the difficult, demanding but essentially good-hearted parents, her pretty, clever younger sister, and her brother, Arun, the apple of his parent's eye, as well as an extended family of mad uncles and sad cousins.

Despite her disappointments it is Uma, who by staying at the centre of family life comes through as the survivor, avoiding an unfulfilling marriage, like her sister's, or a suicidal one, like that arranged for her pretty cousin.

Across the world, in America, where young Arun goes as a student, life in the suburbs - where the man char hunks of bleeding meat while the women don't appear to cook or eat at all - seems bewildering and terrifying to the young Indian far from home...