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Fasting, Feasting


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About the Author

ANITA DESAI is the author of Fasting, Feasting, Baumgartner's Bombay, Clear Light of Day, and Diamond Dust, among other works. Three of her books have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Desai was born and educated in India and now lives in the New York City area.


Through the deceptively simple juxtaposition of opposites and the interweaving and repetition of themes in these two narratives, Desai builds a complex and elegant fiction. Boston Globe

Desai is more than smart; she's an undeniable genius. The Washington Post What a pleasure! She is really one of the most accomplished novelists writing today-- the book flows like water, it comes like a gift to the parched. Heart-rending, yes of course, being about how rescue never comes, but so alive in its appreciation of life's consolations as to be quite magical. -- Fay Weldon Short-listed for the 1999 Booker Prize, Desai's stunning new novel...looks gently but without sentimentality at an Indian family...she has much to say in this graceful, supple novel about the inability of the families in either culture to nurture their children. Publishers Weekly, Starred Anita Desai is considered one of the foremost Indian authors writing in English. Her novels convey the tangled complexities of Indian tradition, with an economy of language that is clean, simple and elegantly straightforward. The Denver Post It is Desai's great accomplishment to portray the worlds of the brother and sister as not simply opposites (as the title might suggest), but as sharing similar forces of family pressure, parental expectation and sibling rivalry. Desai's characters are wonderfully, fallibly human as they wend their way through the maze of everyday domestic tensions. The San Francisco Chronicle Anita Desai is a wonderfully subtle writer who acheives her powerful and poignant effects by stealth rather than direct action. Salon Fasting, Feasting posits food as a metaphoer for emotional sustenance. Everything centers around food. Desai, who teaches writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells the story with lapidary prose, creating intimate scenes as detailed as Indian miniature paintings. An accumulation of small details as steady and fine as drops of small rain create and eventual flood that drowns the happiness and the hopes of both Arun and Uma. The Seattle Times The Indian-born novelist and MIT writing instructor (Desai) deftly conveys the comic horror of escaping the constraints of family and navigating an alien culture, in this case, ours. Boston Magazine The peerless chronicler . . . [of] a world which is already disappearing. The Independent

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